Former SpaceX Employees Sue Musk, Claiming Firing Over Workplace Criticism

SpaceX Conducts In-Flight Abort Test In Florida

Eight former SpaceX employees have filed a lawsuit against the company and its CEO, Elon Musk, claiming they were wrongfully terminated after raising concerns about rampant sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at SpaceX.

The lawsuit, filed in a California state court, alleges that the employees detailed their concerns in a 2022 open letter to management, which they shared via the company intranet. Four of the plaintiffs were fired the following day, the lawsuit states, while others were terminated later after an internal investigation.

In January, the federal National Labor Relations Board filed its own complaint against SpaceX regarding issues raised by nine fired employees.

The open letter addressed multiple workplace concerns, including a call for executives to condemn Musk’s public behavior on X (formerly Twitter) and hold all employees accountable for unacceptable conduct. The letter specifically criticized Musk’s actions, including his downplaying of sexual harassment allegations against him – allegations that the billionaire has denied.

“As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX—every tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company,” the open letter said. The letter also referred to Musk’s actions as a “frequent source of distraction and embarrassment.”

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The lawsuit connects Musk’s behavior, particularly his often lewd posts on Twitter, to the working environment at SpaceX. It states that one plaintiff, Yaman Abdulhak, noted that many of the inappropriate examples cited in a 2021 “appropriate behavior” employee training “closely resembled the contents of Musk’s tweets.” Abdulhak sent examples of those tweets to the SpaceX human resources director, who, according to the complaint, took no action.

SpaceX did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.