NEW YORK (AP) — Several SpaceX employees who were fired after distributing an open letter describing the behavior of CEO Elon Musk have filed a complaint accusing the company of violating labor laws.
The complaint, filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, details the aftermath of what employees allegedly were inside SpaceX after the letter was distributed in June urging managers, among other things, to condemn Musk’s public behavior. allegations that he sexually harassed a flight attendant and held everyone responsible for unacceptable behavior.
The letter was sent weeks after a media report surfaced that Musk paid the flight attendant $250,000 to cancel a possible sexual harassment lawsuit against him. The billionaire denied the allegations.
In their letter, employees urged SpaceX to enforce its policy against unacceptable behavior in the same manner and commit to a transparent process for responses to allegations of misconduct. Paige Holland-Thielen and four other employees who were involved in issuing the letter were laid off a day later, according to a filing filed by Holland-Thielen to a regional NLRB office in California. Four additional employees were fired weeks later for being involved in the letter.
A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and currently managing Twitter, prefers to do things his own way, even if it means breaking the rules and regulations. He is currently in a defiant fight with the Civil Rights department, a California regulator. shaking the tesla for widespread racial discrimination.
Some call Musk’s management style autocratic and suehas given them until Thursday evening to decide whether they want to stay a part of the business, as evidenced by a recent email to Twitter employees. Musk wrote that to create “a groundbreaking Twitter 2.0”, employees “will need to be extremely tough” and that long hours of high intensity will be necessary for success.
Some engineers also said on Twitter: they were fired last week After saying something critical about Musk publicly on Twitter or on an internal messaging board for Twitter employees.
In a statement, Holland-Thielen said she had “deep cultural problems” as a female engineer at SpaceX, and consoled her colleagues who had similar problems.
“It was clear that this culture was created from the highest level,” he said.
Still, he said, one of the aspects he liked about the company was that anyone could bring problems to the lead and be taken seriously.
“We have drafted the letter to deliver it to the management staff on their own terms and to show how their inaction creates concrete obstacles to the mission’s long-term success,” Holland-Thielen said. said. “We never thought SpaceX would fire us for trying to help the company succeed.”
Ignitions coincide with Musk’s $44 billion acquisition your Twitter. Around the same time, the billionaire used the sexual term to mock the belly of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and posted a poop emoji during an online discussion with then Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.
According to the complaint, after SpaceX laid off its first group of employees, it allegedly questioned dozens of people in private meetings over the next two months and told them they could not disclose those conversations to anyone else due to attorney-client privilege. Four additional employees who helped draft or share the letter were laid off in July and August, with up to nine layoffs in total, according to the filing.
“Management has used this ‘ends justify means’ philosophy to ignore the mistreatment, harassment and abuse reported by my colleagues, many of which were directly inspired and encouraged by the words and actions of the CEO,” said Tom. Moline, who was also fired from SpaceX after editing the letter.
Jeffery Pfeffer, a professor specializing in organizational behavior at the Stanford University business school, said the allegations were not surprising given Musk’s leadership style on Twitter. Musk’s success at companies like Tesla and SpaceX has created what he has labeled as arrogance, under the misguided notion that “it’s all about individual genius.”
“Strong people can break the rules. Criticizing Musk’s behavior, Pfeffer said, “They don’t think they adhere to the same traditions as other people.”
Reported from Sioux Falls, Groves, South Dakota.
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