U.S. Labor Agency Says SpaceX Illegally Fired 8 Employees Who Called Elon Musk's Behavior an 'Embarrassment' The employees made the comments in a June 2022 letter.

By Emily Rella

entrepreneur daily

A U.S. labor agency filed a formal complaint against Space X this week alleging the space company illegally fired eight employees after they internally circulated a document that called CEO Elon Musk an "embarrassment."

The letter was sent to SpaceX executives in June 2022 and cited multiple posts made by the SpaceX chief executive on the social media platform then known as Twitter—a platform Musk owns.

Related: Amazon Partners With Elon Musk's SpaceX on Kuiper Satellites

"Elon's behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks. As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company," the original letter sent by the former staffers read. "It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values."

After the letter was sent around to other employees urging them to sign, higher leadership decided to terminate the employees who wrote the letter. The employees then filed an unfair labor practice charge.

According to a regional office with the National Labor Relations Board, SpaceX violated the former employees' rights by firing them for demanding better conditions from higher leadership.

Per Reuters, SpaceX has the option to either settle the claim or have it be brought before a judge with a hearing scheduled for March 5. If SpaceX is found guilty of violating the law, terminated employees might also be entitled to have their positions back and/or be compensated for pay from the time they were fired.

Related: SpaceX Is Launching a Secret Military Plane to Orbit: Watch

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell sent out an internal email to employees about the nature of the letter and notified the company of the terminations.

"We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism — our current leadership team is more dedicated to ensuring we have a great and ever-improving work environment than any I have seen in my 35-year career," the email said, obtained by The Verge . "I am sorry for this distraction. Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission and use your time at work to do your best work. This is how we will get to Mars."

SpaceX has until January 17 to respond to the complaint.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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