Ex-SpaceX Workers Accuse The Company Of Labor Law Violations
(CTN NEWS) – Several former SpaceX workers have filed a complaint alleging that the firm broke labour rules after being let go for dissing CEO Elon Musk in a circulated letter.
Employees of SpaceX have complained to the National Labor Relations Board about what happened after they distributed the letter in June.
In addition, executives pushed them to hold everyone accountable for inappropriate behaviour after condemning Musk’s actions on Twitter, including downplaying claims that he had harassed a flight attendant.
Musk wrote the letter a few weeks after news reports claimed he had paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a potential sexual harassment claim. The billionaire has refuted the accusations levelled against him.
Employees at SpaceX requested the firm to commit to being transparent in its reaction to complaints and to consistently implement its policy against improper behaviour.
Paige Holland-Thielen and four other staff members engaged in organizing the letter were fired a day later, according to the filing Holland-Thielen sent to a regional NLRB office in California.
Four more employees were terminated a few weeks later for their involvement in the letter.
A corporate spokeswoman did not immediately answer an inquiry for comment.
Despite rules and regulations, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Musk, who presently heads Twitter, loves to do things his way.
His current conflict with the California Civil Rights Department, which is suing Tesla for blatant racial discrimination, is one of defiance.
An example of how some people view Musk’s managerial style as authoritarian and demanding is a recent email he issued to Twitter employees, giving them till Thursday evening to decide whether to stay or leave.
Musk claims that to create “a breakthrough Twitter 2.0,” people “must put in a lot of effort and work long hours.”
Several engineers claimed on Twitter that they were dismissed last week due to publicly or privately criticizing Musk.
Holland-Thielen had “serious cultural challenges” when working for SpaceX, and she consoled coworkers who had gone through a similar situation.
“This culture was definitely developed top-down” she claimed.
She said, though, that she appreciated that any employee could bring concerns to management’s attention.
Holland-Thielen claimed, “the letter was drafted to connect with the executive staff on their terms and demonstrate how their actions contributed to the mission’s failure.”
“We never thought SpaceX would fire us for trying to make it successful.”
The firings and Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter are related. The billionaire used a sexual phrase to mock Bill Gates’ belly during an online conversation with the former CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal.
After firing the first group of workers, SpaceX allegedly held private sessions to question hundreds of additional workers.
Assuring them their conversations could not be revealed due to attorney-client privilege, according to the complaint.
Four additional employees were let go in July and August for contributing to or sharing the letter, the filing states.
“This ‘ends justifies the means’ philosophy was used by the management to ignore the ongoing mistreatment, harassment, and abuse my colleagues reported,
“many of which were directly inspired and encouraged by the CEO’s words and actions,” Tom Moline, who organized the letter, said.
According to Jeffery Pfeffer, a Stanford University business school professor specializing in organizational behaviour, Musk’s leadership style at Twitter makes the allegations unsurprising.
Under the false notion that it was “all about individual genius,” Musk’s success at companies like Tesla and SpaceX created what he called hubris.
“Powerful people are allowed to break the rules. They think the same conventions do not bind them as others,” Pfeffer said in his criticism of Musk.
According to him, it showed Musk’s arrogance: “Why would he think he is a mere mortal? ”
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