July 3, 2022


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SpaceX fires employees involved in Elon Musk's critical letter

SpaceX fires employees involved in Elon Musk’s critical letter

SpaceX has fired some of the employees involved in it critical message chief executive officer

Elon Musk

and the way the company enforces internal rules, according to an email to employees from the SpaceX chief and people familiar with it.

Gwen Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said the company conducted an investigation and decided to terminate a number of employees who were involved in the effort, according to the email, a copy of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal. The email showed that the letter diverted employees’ attention from the company’s operations, and showed disagreement over how to distribute the memo.

Her email did not say how many people the company had left. At least two people who helped lead the effort have been fired, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Some employees of the company recently wrote a letter in the name of Mr. Musk’s public statements and behavior, especially over the past several weeks, embarrassing and distracting. The letter asked SpaceX’s management to publicly separate the company from the personal brand of Mr. Musk, and take steps to address what it said was a gap between SpaceX’s stated values, its existing systems, and the company’s culture.

CEO Elon Musk recently said that privately owned SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, California, has about 12,000 employees.


Alesha Gusevich/Bloomberg News

Ms Shotwell said the letter-writing effort was distracting from SpaceX’s work, including its upcoming satellite launches and an expected first attempt. To fly the massive spacecraft rocket system in orbit. Ms Shotwell said the letter upset many staff, saying they felt pressured “to sign something that did not reflect their views”.

“We have a lot of critical work to get done and I don’t need that kind of hyperactivity,” she said in the email.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the official name of SpaceX, did not respond to requests for comment. The New York Times reported earlier on Ms. Shotwell’s email.

The company, based in Hawthorne, California, on Friday launched another batch of its Starlink broadband satellites into orbit, according to a SpaceX live broadcast.

It is not possible to determine the number of people who have signed Speech clerk criticizes Mr. Musk. Musk recently said that privately owned SpaceX has about 12,000 employees. In addition to leading SpaceX, Mr. Musk is CEO of

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Ms Shotwell said in her email that SpaceX’s current leadership team is dedicated to ensuring the company has a great working environment; She criticized how those who participated in the letter used SpaceX’s resources.

“Thousands of people across the company are being covered with frequent unsolicited emails and asked to sign letters and fill out unsupported surveys during the working day,” she said.

After months of delays, the Federal Aviation Administration released its long-awaited environmental assessment of SpaceX’s South Texas Starbus launch site. WSJ’s Micah Maidenberg explains what the decision means for SpaceX and moving forward with the company’s Starship program. Photo caption: Alexander Hotz/WSJ

Legal experts said fired SpaceX employees have few ways to appeal their termination. Every US state except Montana has “at-will” employment laws, which means an employer can hire and fire workers for any reason except for discriminatory reasons.

Staff members also cannot rely on the First Amendment because it does not apply in the context of private employment, said Stacey Hawkins, a professor at Rutgers School of Law. She said the amendment only ensures that the government cannot restrict freedom of expression.

Ms Hawkins said workers may have some recourse to the National Labor Relations Act, which protects concerted activity when workers exchange information or opinions about terms and conditions of employment, but it was unclear whether statements by SpaceX employees would qualify under that statute.

In addition, the NLRA is limited to non-supervisory employees, said Kate Bischoff, a Minnesota employment attorney and human resources consultant.

write to Micah Maidenberg at [email protected]

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