Tech

SpaceX Lawsuit: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

spacex, spacex lawsuit, spacex layoffs, spacex jobs, elon musk

Elon Musk’s company SpaceX is facing a lawsuit after laying off hundreds of workers. The workers claim they weren’t given proper notice or payment. Here’s what you need to know about this class action suit.


1. 400 SpaceX Employees Might Be Involved in the Suit

spacex, spacex class action, spacex lawsuit, spacex layoffs, spacex jobs, elon musk

(Getty)

SpaceX, more formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., is facing a class action lawsuit from 400 of its employees. The legal website Law360 explains that “roughly 400 workers” in the state of California claim to have been given no notice of layoffs, nor were they paid properly for work they had completed prior to being fired.

The layoffs took place last month, and the plaintiffs argue that SpaceX’s layoffs were in violation of California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Under that law, employees facing termination as part of a layoff must get 60 days advance written notice. A layoff is defined as the termination of over 50 employees within a 30-day timeframe, according to PC Mag.


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2. SpaceX Claims Firings Weren’t Layoffs

spacex, spacex lawsuit, spacex layoffs, spacex jobs, elon musk

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveils the company’s new manned spacecraft, The Dragon V2. (Getty)

SpaceX seems to be reluctant to call the wide scale firing of these employees a layoff, despite the fact that hundreds of employees were affected. PC Magazine notes that the total number of employees who were fired was equivalent to five or ten percent of the entire company’s workforce.

PC Mag quotes SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, who attempts to offer a simple explanation for why so many people were let go at once:

“We did our annual performance review, there were some low performers, and we terminated them.”


3. SpaceX Was Recently Offered $15 Million

spacex, spacex class action, spacex lawsuit, spacex layoffs, spacex jobs, elon musk

Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club (Getty)

Texas offered SpaceX $15 million in incentives earlier this month. The incentives deal was designed to entice SpaceX to build a spaceport in the Lone Star state. It has been reported that bringing that spaceport to Texas would create 300 jobs.


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4. SpaceX Has Multiple Missions Planned For 2014 & Beyond

Check out the press kit for an early SpaceX mission above.

According to their missions page, SpaceX has ten flights planned for 2014. In addition, over two dozen missions are scheduled between 2015 and 2018. SpaceX has a variety of clients for space travel.

As they state on the missions page, “Our launch manifest is populated by a diverse customer base, including space station resupply missions, commercial satellite launch missions, and US government science and national security missions.”


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5. Tesla Has Also Faced a Class Action Suit

Read the full class action complaint against Tesla Motors above.

SpaceX isn’t the only Elon Musk to face legal trouble in recent years. Another Elon Musk company, Tesla Motors, has faced a class action suit. SFGate notes that last year’s Tesla Model S fires were the cause of the suit. USA Today noted that Tesla has blamed at least one Model S owner personally for problems with the car.


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5 comments

  1. You attempted to relate the 300 plus jobs in Texas with the loss of 200 or so jobs in California. There is no relation. Texas is a LAUNCH PAD he is building, not the production plant in California. Spacex removed poor performers. They are being replaced. Spacex plans to expand jobs by 20% this year. There are over 300 jobs open listed on their web page.

  2. The article states that “roughly 400″ employees were “laid off”.
    Elsewhere it says: “SpaceX seems to be reluctant to call the wide scale firing of these employees a layoff, despite the fact that hundreds of employees were affected.”

    Both of these statements are very misleading. 400 is the high-end estimate. From what I understand the number is between 200-400. SpaceX has about 4000 employees, so that’s between 5-10%, as is stated elsewhere. I once worked for a CA company that fired the lowest-rated 10% based on annual reviews – every year. These 100s of actions were considered to be firings for cause and not layoffs.
    So, the issue is not how many, but for what reason. Mass firings for cause or layoffs due to lack of funds or work. What it will boil down to is how well SpaceX documented their reasons and what the court believes.

    • More: “A layoff is defined as the termination of over 50 employees within a 30-day timeframe…” This is not the definition of a layoff. The difference between a layoff and firing for cause is not how many but the reason behind it.

      • That is how it is defined in California Law, cited in the article, as a measure to protect against a mass layoff whitewashed as justified firings. I agree that SpaceX was likely firing due to low performance, though admittedly I don’t know the case. But that doesn’t side step the law with regards to the matter, which is pretty clear. Your argument, however valid it may be, wouldn’t hold up in court. And this is a lawsuit so what the law says is the only thing that matters.

        • The article is wrong. CA Labor Code 1400(c) states that “Layoff” means a separation from a position for lack of funds or lack of work. 1400(d) says “Mass layoff” means a layoff during any 30-day period of 50 or more employees at a covered establishment.

          So, the 30-day period and 50 employees applies to mass layoff. And a layoff is only when there is no work or money to pay workers. That wasn’t the case here.

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