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Ex-staff accuse SpaceX of sexual harassment, discrimination

By AFP

February 7, 2024 11:36 AM


Ex-staff accuse SpaceX of sexual harassment, discrimination

US businessman Nelson Peltz (L), South African Tesla CEO Elon Musk, US actress Nicola Peltz Beckham and Will Petlz (r) arrive for the premiere of the movie 'Lola' at the Bruin theatre, in Los Angeles.–AFP

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Former employees at Elon Musk's SpaceX have expanded their legal case against the rocket-making company that they accuse of discrimination and sexual harassment.

According to the new accusations made to a California civil rights authority, SpaceX nurtured a hostile work environment where jokes about sexual harassment were commonplace, women were paid less than men and workers who complained were dismissed.

The information first reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday was confirmed by the plaintiffs' lawyers.

In these complaints, consulted by AFP, the engineers broadly describe a sexist corporate culture, where sexual comments and other forms of harassment were tolerated or made light of.

They also found that Musk's often inappropriate online humor was being emulated internally, setting the tone at the workplace.

The California civil rights department, notified the aerospace company in January of the seven complaints filed several months earlier by the former employees.

"The harassment was visual in nature in that CEO Elon Musk made public statements that were lewd and demeaning towards women, transgender individuals and gay people on his personal twitter (now X) account," said Paige Holland-Thielen in her complaint.

She also explained that she had to regularly read the Twitter account of the billionaire, since he regularly posted important information about SpaceX.

Holland-Thielen also referred to a performance review that deemed her "too emotional" and asked her to "be more humble", after she had expressed her concerns to a superior that a male colleague was taking credit for her work.

The complaints follow a separate action in which a US labor agency said that the employees were unlawfully fired after complaining in a public letter about their treatment at the company.

SpaceX last month went to court to try to derail the US National Labor Relations Board accusation and delay a hearing on the matter set for March 5.

Musk's company argued that the structure of the regulatory board is unconstitutional and the hearing process violates the company's right to a jury trial.

Tesla, Elon Musk's other flagship company, has been the subject of similar accusations of racism and sexual harassment at its California site.


AFP


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