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NLRB says SpaceX unlawfully fired employees critical of Elon Musk

Elon Musk after arriving outside of Arnold Hall on April 7, 2022

Federal labor regulators have accused SpaceX of illegally terminating employees who publicly criticized the company founder, Elon Musk.

In the summer of 2022, around 400 SpaceX workers, including those fired, signed a letter raising concerns over Musk's behavior.

They voiced concerns about Musk's public statements and behavior, deeming them embarrassing and distracting.

The letter urged SpaceX management to distance the company publicly from Musk's personal brand.

With a workforce of around 13,000 employees, SpaceX has become a global leader in rocket launches thanks to its partially reusable Falcon rocket fleet. 

The company has also expanded its reach into the internet service market through its Starlink satellite division.

Eight employees were fired

Following the distribution of the critical letter, SpaceX fired eight employees involved in the initiative, citing a diversion of attention from company operations. 

The terminated workers allege SpaceX violated labor laws over a year ago, just months after their dismissal. 

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional director in the Los Angeles area will attempt to facilitate a settlement between the former employees and the company. 

If no settlement is reached, a hearing is scheduled before an administrative law judge in early March, potentially escalating the dispute into the federal court system. 

Among the board's recent actions is a complaint seeking letters of apology to the terminated employees.

SpaceX has not responded to requests for comment.

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