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Unlawfully Terminating Employees Who Were Critical Of Elon Musk

A US agency accused rocket and satellite manufacturer SpaceX on Wednesday of forcibly terminating eight workers for distributing a letter denouncing founder and CEO Elon Musk as a “distraction and embarrassment.”

A complaint was filed by a regional representative of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that SpaceX had infringed on the federal labor law rights of its employees to organize and demand improved working conditions.

The June 2022 letter to SpaceX officials addressed a number of sexually provocative tweets that Musk had posted since 2020. The workers demanded that SpaceX denounce Musk’s remarks since they were incompatible with the company’s regulations regarding diversity and workplace misbehavior.

In addition, SpaceX is accused in the complaint of questioning staff members regarding the letter, demeaning the workers involved, and threatening to dismiss staff members who participated in similar activities.

A request for response from SpaceX was not immediately answered.

According to Deborah Lawrence, one of the sacked employees, SpaceX has a “toxic culture” where harassment is accepted, especially toward women. Her attorneys released a comment on the matter.

We wrote the open letter to leadership not out of malice, but because we cared about the mission and the people around us,” Lawrence stated.

The president appoints the five members of the NLRB board, and the general counsel represents the organization in prosecutorial capacity.

If SpaceX does not reach a settlement, an administrative judge will consider the issue; the judge’s ruling may be challenged before the board and ultimately a federal appeals court. March 5 is the date of the hearing.

The NLRB has the authority to mandate reinstatement and back pay for employees who are fired in violation of labor laws. In the event that SpaceX is found to have broken the law, it may potentially be subject to harsher sanctions in subsequent board cases.

This lawsuit is the most recent to charge Muskowned businesses of breaking labor and employment laws against their workers’ rights.

At least 600 previously unreported occupational incidents at SpaceX facilities, including crushed limbs, electrocution, brain injuries, and one fatality, were revealed by Reuters in November.

In addition, a number of lawsuits and NLRB complaints have been filed against Tesla Inc., the CEO of an electric vehicle company, along with a push to organize a union and extensive allegations of racial discrimination at the company’s facilities. According to Tesla, it does not accept discrimination.

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