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NLRB Says SpaceX Fired Employees Openly Critical of Musk

The National Relations Labor Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against SpaceX. The company fired eight employees involved in writing a letter to SpaceX asking it to condemn “harmful Twitter behavior” by Elon Musk. The letter also asked the company to clarify its harassment policies and maintain consistent enforcement of those policies. In particular, they asked the company to uphold repercussions even at the highest levels.

In December 2021, a female former SpaceX employee published her account of harassment and groping by co-workers that she said the company refused to address. Employees were upset by the account, causing the company to assert it would audit its policies. Not long after, it came out that SpaceX had paid $250,000 to settle allegations Musk had exposed himself and sexually propositioned an employee. Musk denied the sexual harassment allegations and joked about them on Twitter. These events prompted the employees to write the letter. CEO Gwynne Shotwell initially appeared supportive based on comments.

The NLRB said Shotwell and other executives illegally interfered with the employees' ability to share the letter. It also said SpaceX's firing of the employees was retaliatory and interfered with their right to engage in concerted activities protected under the National Labor Relations Act. An administrative judge will hear the case in March with the NLRB seeking reinstatement and back pay for the employees.