According to a report by Bloomberg, SpaceX is being accused by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of illegally firing eight employees who wrote a public letter criticizing Elon Musk’s behavior on social media and the company’s response to it. The company is now attempting to delay the progress of the complaint by suing the labor board and claiming that its structure is “unconstitutional.”
SpaceX’s lawsuit takes issue with the labor board’s use of its own administrative judges for proceedings, arguing that this denies the company its “constitutional right to trial by jury.” The company is requesting that the case be put on hold to avoid having to go through what it deems “protracted administrative proceedings before an unconstitutionally structured agency.”
The open letter criticized Musk’s behavior on social media, including a tweet making light of a sexual misconduct allegation against him, and called for accountability from company leadership. The NLRB claims that SpaceX fired a total of nine employees for engaging in protected concerted activity at work, which it says is illegal.
SpaceX defended its actions by stating that the open letter caused significant distraction to its employees and that the fired employees violated company policies. This lawsuit follows a pattern for the private space corporation, which previously used legal tactics to block the US Department of Justice from pursuing an administrative case accusing the company of discriminatory hiring practices.
In the past, SpaceX has also challenged the powers of the Justice Department’s administrative judges, successfully pausing the administrative case against it while its own lawsuit was ongoing.