SpaceX accused of unlawfully firing staff critical of Elon Musk

USA: SpaceX has been accused of unlawfully firing eight workers who were critical of its multi-billionaire chief executive Elon Musk.

A complaint by a US labour agency says the employees sent an open letter to the firm’s executives in 2022, detailing workplace concerns.

The letter called him a “distraction and embarrassment”, according to Reuters news agency.

The BBC has approached the rocket and satellite firm for comment.

The complaint by a regional official at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accused SpaceX of violating the workers’ rights under federal labour law which allows co-workers to jointly advocate for better working conditions.

The complaint also said those involved in the open letter were interrogated before being discharged.

Lawyers for one of the former employees, Deborah Lawrence, have reportedly accused SpaceX of having a “toxic culture”, where harassment is tolerated.

In a statement, seen by Reuters, Ms Lawrence said: “We wrote the open letter to leadership not out of malice, but because we cared about the mission and the people around us”.

The NLRB’s general counsel acts like a prosecutor and brings cases to the five-member board appointed by the organisation’s president.

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