December 9, 2022

SpaceX employees say they were fired for talking about Elon Musk

Managers also expressed support. Vice President Mr. Edwards, in a meeting after the letter came out, said two of its three proposals were “great ideas,” according to minutes of the meeting shared internally and seen by The Times. He proposed a third idea – SpaceX itself as Mr. Separating from Musk’s “personal brand” is “very tricky.”

But the response at the company’s highest levels quickly turned contradictory, employees said. Within hours, Mr. Ms. Shadwell sent an email to Molin and Ms. Holland-Thielen, who disagreed with the letter and referred to an unnamed colleague’s comments as distracting. Information As previously reported by email.

“Please immediately cease all employee communication channels,” Ms Shadwell wrote in her email, in which she copied senior company officials. He added: “I consider your ignoring my email to be disobedient. Instead, focus on your work.

The next morning, news outlets reported on the open letter. That afternoon, Mr. Moline, Mrs. Holland-Thielen and three other employees were contacted separately by Human Resources. They were fired. One official cited their role in creating and distributing the letter, four employees said.

Mrs. Shadwell joined those conversations remotely, stressing that the workers were a huge waste of the company’s time.

The employees were stunned. “We really tried to make it as palatable as possible to the reasonable minds at SpaceX,” Ms. Holland-Thielen said. Anne Shaver, one of the employees’ lawyers, said the company “brutally retaliated” against them.

Ms. Shadwell did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

Wilma Lipman, who chaired the National Labor Relations Board under President Barack Obama, said a letter clarifying a company’s sexual harassment policies is generally protected by federal labor law. Instead of improving their workplace, the letter writers were not necessarily protected by Mr. He said the company could argue that it was trying to criticize Musk. But the employees criticized Mr. He said the labor board probably disagreed because Musk’s posts were seen as creating a hostile work environment.