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Former employees sue Elon Musk’s SpaceX claiming illegal firings after they called out alleged gender bias, harassment

New York CNN  —  SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk were sued on Wednesday by former employees who claim they were illegally fired for raising concerns about gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the rocket company. The lawsuit, brought by eight employees who were fired in 2022, alleges that Musk wants to be “the leader to a brave new world of space travel, but runs his company in the dark ages—treating women as sexual objects to be evaluated on their bra size, bombarding the workplace with lewd sexual banter, and offering the reprise to those who challenge the ‘Animal House’ environment that if they don’t like it they can seek employment elsewhere,” according to the complaint, filed in state court in California. The eight former employees were involved in writing a 2022 open letter criticizing Musk and urging SpaceX executives to make the firm’s culture more inclusive. The letter, which was signed by at least 400 other employees, asked SpaceX management to make it clear that Musk’s statements — particularly on Twitter — did not reflect the views or values of the company and asserted that SpaceX’s so-called “No Asshole” policy was unevenly enforced. Following the letter’s release, the eight employees were fired. Wednesday’s complaint alleges that “Musk personally ordered the Plaintiff’s terminations.” SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. SpaceX does not typically respond to queries from news organizations. In response to the 2022 letter, SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell previously said she would enforce SpaceX’s “zero tolerance” standards against employee harassment.