Elon Musk sued for alleged sexual harassment and retaliation by former SpaceX engineers

They also accuse him of using sexual photos, memes and other demeaning commentary in the workplace.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Eight former SpaceX engineers filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk on Wednesday, accusing the CEO of sexual harassment and retaliation. The same group of fired employees have also filed complaints with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about SpaceX’s alleged retaliation. Bloomberg first reported on the lawsuit.

“Musk knowingly and purposefully created an unwelcome hostile work environment based upon his conduct of interjecting into the workplace vile sexual photographs, memes, and commentary that demeaned women and/or the LGBTQ+ community,” the eight former employees wrote in Wednesday’s filing.

The former SpaceX engineers said some of them were harassed by other co-workers who “mimicked Musk’s posts,” in an alleged example of mob bullying under the influence of their superior’s behavior. The plaintiffs wrote that this “created a wildly uncomfortable hostile work environment.”

The group worked together on an open letter in 2022, highlighting the Tesla founder’s allegedly problematic behavior. They say they were fired in retaliation for that essay.

According to Bloomberg, the filing says the former SpaceX engineers have reason to believe Musk made the decision to fire them in retaliation for their letter. The complaint claims that when a SpaceX HR official suggested the company conduct a formal investigation before taking any decisive action, Musk replied, “I don’t care — fire them.”

The engineers’ case with the NLRB has been held up by an appeals court injunction despite the board agreeing that SpaceX illegally retaliated against them. SpaceX sued the agency in January, calling its structure “unconstitutional.”

The lawsuit follows a report on Tuesday detailing allegations that Musk had sexual relations with two female employees and asked a third to have his babies.