SpaceX Faces Second Lawsuit Over Pay and Working Conditions at

November 2, 2015 – 03:22 pm

SpacX Founder Elon MuskUPDATE:This is a class-action lawsuit from one ex-employee alleging labor law violations. If he wins, it would affect former and present employees.

SpaceX is facing a second lawsuit from employees, this time from both past and present. reports:

For the second time in a week, former and current employees of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. hit the rocket manufacturer with a putative class action in California court, accusing it on Friday of failing to provide rest breaks or pay full wages.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that SpaceX supervisors impose schedules on their employees that make it impossible for them to take statutorily required rest periods every four hours or first or second meal breaks as required by California law.

SpaceX is well known to have a culture in which many employees routinely work 60 to 80 hour weeks. It’s easy to imagine that such schedules require careful attention to rest and meal breaks and accounting for hours worked.

This lawsuit adds to SpaceX’s legal woes. Two employees who were fired in July as part of a mass firing have filed a lawsuit alleging that SpaceX failed to following the Cal WARN Act, which requires 60 days notice of any large layoffs of 50 people or more for companies of SpaceX’s size. The class-action suit seeks back pay and benefits.

The key issue in the lawsuit appears to be whether the employees were fired for poor performance, or because of a lack of work. SpaceX has said the firings were of low-performing employees and were done after the company’s annual review process. The company says it expects a 20 percent net in its employee headcount this year. SpaceX also has hundreds of jobs listed on its website.

It could be that SpaceX has adopted the practice of laying off a certain percent of its low-performing employees each year. That’s not unheard of among big companies, although I’m told that Musk has not used that method in the past.


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