SpaceX Under Fire for Alleged Illegal Firing of Employees Critical of Elon Musk


The employees were allegedly fired after they wrote an open letter that criticized the behavior of Elon Musk, the company’s CEO.

Eight employees were allegedly illegally fired by SpaceX after penning a letter critical of its CEO, Elon Musk, according to a new complaint filed against the company. 

The complaint was issued by a regional officer of the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In its report, Reuters says that the complaint claims SpaceX “violated the workers’ rights under federal labor law to band together and advocate for better working conditions.” 

It should be noted that a separate complaint has likewise been filed by the attorney representing the fired employees. The complaint was made to the California Civil Rights Department and focuses on SpaceX’s failure to stop sexual harassment within the company.

As of press time, SpaceX has released no comment regarding the complaint filed by NLRB. 

The Open Letter

The incident began when eight employees of SpaceX penned an open letter that was posted internally. The employees wrote in the letter that Musk’s “behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us.” They went on to cite his divisive Twitter posts as well as alleged sexual misconduct to illustrate their point. 

According to a report by CNBC, the open letter was posted after it was reported that the SpaceX CEO “had propositioned and exposed himself to a flight attendant on one of the company’s private jets in 2016, leading to a sexual harassment claim against the CEO, which SpaceX reportedly settled for USD 250,000 in 2018.” 

These allegations have been denied by Musk. 

How SpaceX Allegedly Dealt with the Employees

The complaint against SpaceX states that after posting the open letter, the employees were interrogated over its contents. Disparaging comments about the authors were also made by SpaceX, as well as statements that invited them to quit the company if they disagreed with Musk’s behavior. 

The complaint claims that the employees were eventually illegally fired by the company. 

What Happens Now? 

Now that a complaint has been made, the regional office of NLRB will seek a settlement between SpaceX and the eight employees. Should a settlement not be reached between the two parties, the case will then be heard by an administrative judge on March 5. 

Whatever decision the administrative judge will make is not considered final. Because of this, it can be appealed to the NLRB board as well as the federal appeals court.

Should the court find that the firing of the eight employees is a violation of the law, the NLRB can order for their reinstatement. The company can likewise be ordered to give them back their pay.