California Investigates SpaceX For Sex Bias



A California civil rights agency is investigating SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk for failing to address systemic bias and sexual harassment against women.

SpaceX was notified of the claims by the California Civil Rights Department in January, three months after a group of engineers submitted charges claiming they were fired for criticizing SpaceX and Musk in a letter to company management, their lawyer Laurie Burgess said Tuesday.

The NLRB has sued SpaceX for discharging those workers, alleging federal labor law violations. The corporation denies wrongdoing and sued the agency to stop its litigation, saying NLRB board members and in-house judges were improperly selected under the U.S. Constitution.

Six California complaints were received by Reuters. The engineers claimed that Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX routinely favors men for jobs and promotions, pays women less than men for comparable work, tolerates sexual comments and other harassment, and retaliates against them and other workers for complaining.

“SpaceX tolerates, condones and permits a work environment that is hostile to female employees and to employees of all genders who object to bias and harassment,” the workers wrote in their claims.

Related link: US Labor Agency Claims SpaceX Improperly Sacked Musk Critics

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment. The California agency declined to comment on pending investigations due to state law.

Burgess said the complaints were aimed to vindicate engineers and make SpaceX safer for everyone.

“SpaceX insists that nothing is more important than its mission to get to Mars; our clients shared that vision but were fired for daring to demand that SpaceX comply with basic civil rights while doing so,” Burgess.

Bloomberg stated that SpaceX has until later this month to react to the California civil rights body. It will then determine whether to drop or settle the charges. If no compromise is reached, the agency may let workers or itself sue.

They called Musk a “distraction and embarrassment” in their 2022 letter and criticized his flight attendant sexual harassment response. Musk posted many sexually provocative social media messages since 2020, according to the letter.

The latest labor board cases accuse Musk’s enterprises of widespread labor and employment law infractions in California and the U.S.

In 2022, the California government sued Tesla (TSLA.O), led by Musk, for harassing Black plant workers. Tesla opposes discrimination and unsuccessfully challenged the agency’s complaint investigation and lawsuit decision procedure.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Tesla last September with similar concerns.

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