Former SpaceX employees are suing after they were fired after complaining of sexual harassment

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Eight former employees have sued SpaceX and its CEO Elon Musk, claiming Musk ordered them fired after challenging what they called rampant sexual harassment and a hostile attitude.Animal house“-style work environment at the company.

The employees, who filed suit in a California state court, detailed their complaints in a 2022 open letter to management that they shared via a company intranet. The next day, four of the plaintiffs were fired, they claimed; others were later terminated following an internal investigation.

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

Among other workplace concerns, the open letter called on executives to condemn Musk's public behavior on X — the platform then known as Twitter — and hold all employees accountable for unacceptable behavior. Musk's actions included making light of sexual harassment allegations against him — accusations the billionaire denied.

“As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX – every tweet Elon sends is a de facto public statement from the company,” the open letter said at the time. The letter also refers to Musk's actions as a “frequent source of distraction and embarrassment.”

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The complaint drew connections between Musk's behavior — in particular his often lewd posts on Twitter — and the work environment at SpaceX. It says one of the plaintiffs, Yaman Abdulhak, noted that many of the inappropriate examples cited in a 2021 employee training on “appropriate conduct” were “very similar to the content of Musk's tweets.” Abdulhak sent samples of those tweets to SpaceX's HR director, who took no action, the complaint said.

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

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