Rocket and spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX is under fire for its treatment of employees who were dismissed shortly after writing an open letter that was critical of CEO Elon Musk. 

As originally reported by CNBC, which obtained a copy of the open letter, the employees were critical of the public behaviour of Elon Musk and his alleged sexual misconduct.  

After circulating the letter privately within the company, the treatment of the eight SpaceX employees behind it is now the subject of a National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) investigation. 

The eight employees were dismissed after the letter’s circulation and the NLRB has since clarified that it is seeking compensation for the former workers for unfair dismissal. 

In its complaint, the NLRB also stated that screenshots of employees’ communications surrounding the open letter were shown to the dismissed employees, which made them feel as though they were under surveillance. 

The dismissed employees stated to the NLRB that they felt interrogated about their involvement in the open letter and that their private communication was not protected. 

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If no settlement is reached, the investigation will go to a hearing with an NLRB judge on 5 March 2024. However, SpaceX will be able to appeal the NLRB judge’s ruling after a verdict is reached. 

The attorney representing the eight dismissed employees, Laurie Burgess, stated to CNBC that an additional complaint surrounding company culture and its failure to correct sexual harassment had been filed with the California Civil Rights Department.