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Elon Musk sued by former SpaceX employees, claim to be fired for raising sexual harassment concerns

In 2022, Business Insider reported that SpaceX had paid USD 250,000 to settle a claim that he exposed himself to an employee on a private plane.

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Elon Musk sued by former SpaceX employees, claim to be fired for raising sexual harassment concerns
Elon Musk (Image: IANS)
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Eight former employees of Elon Musk's SpaceX sued the company and Musk on Wednesday, alleging they were "wrongfully fired" for raising concerns about "sexual harassment" and "discrimination" in the workplace, reported the New York Times.

The employees were terminated in 2022 after circulating an open letter urging SpaceX executives to condemn Musk's comments on Twitter, later renamed X, which they deemed "a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment."

According to the complaint, Musk ordered the terminations upon learning of the letter.

"Our eight brave clients stood up to him and were fired for doing so," Laurie Burgess, a lawyer representing the former SpaceX employees, said in a statement. "We look forward to holding Musk accountable for his actions at trial."

The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory damages. SpaceX has not responded to the allegations yet.

The lawsuit, filed in California state court in Los Angeles, called SpaceX's workplace an "Animal House" filled with inappropriate and sexually suggestive behaviour, the NYT reported.

Several plaintiffs said they had experienced harassment from other SpaceX employees that "mimicked Musk's posts," which created "a wildly uncomfortable hostile work environment."

The lawsuit further contends that executives at SpaceX were regularly made aware of grievances about Musk's explicit social media messages, but that the complaints were routinely 'dismissed', even after a "sexual harassment internal audit" conducted by SpaceX's president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell.

The New York Times reported citing an email, that Shotwell wrote to SpaceX employees following the firing of those employees, saying there was "too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism,"

The same eight employees are already pursuing charges against SpaceX with the National Labor Relations Board. In January, SpaceX sued the labor board to dispute the charges, arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because the structure of the agency is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed a day before Tesla shareholders are expected to conclude a vote on a pay package for Musk that's worth about USD 45 billion. It also followed a Tuesday report in The Wall Street Journal detailing Musk's history of sexual relationships with co-workers.

The lawsuit is the latest in a list of grievances between employees and Musk.

In 2022, Business Insider reported that SpaceX had paid USD 250,000 to settle a claim that he exposed himself to an employee on a private plane. (Mr. Musk later denied the "wild accusations."

Musk also laid off roughly half of Twitter's work force after acquiring the company, later firing another two dozen of the company's internal critics. And last August, the Justice Department sued SpaceX for 'discriminating' against refugees and asylum seekers in its hiring, the New York Times reported.

"We hope that this lawsuit encourages our colleagues to stay strong and to keep fighting for a better workplace," Paige Holland-Thielen, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DNA staff and is published from ANI)

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