According to Time magazine, the Financial Times also named Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk as their Person of the Year 2021 on Wednesday. In spite of all his eccentric and provocative Twitter messages, which some seemed childish, he was one of the most transformative people in business today, the newspaper wrote in its statement. Former employees at Tesla such as SpaceX, however, accuse him of allowing a misogynist culture in his company.
Six new lawsuits against Tesla
A first lawsuit of this kind against Tesla became known at the end of November – a rare case, because reports indicate that it is contractually agreed that such complaints will be dealt with in out-of-court arbitration. According to the portrayal of a former employee on the night shift for Model 3 in Fremont, she was sexually molested almost daily for three years and Tesla did nothing about it, despite several reports to superiors. According to a report by the Washington Post, six other Tesla employees also filed lawsuits on Tuesday over similar allegations.
Like the first plaintiff, according to the Post report, several of the new companies see a connection between CEO Musk’s Twitter activity and sexism at Tesla. There he often jokes with the number 69 and said in October that he was thinking about founding a university with the abbreviation TITS. Colleagues and superiors of the plaintiffs are said to have amused themselves at work at such statements and used them as a template to continue with them. Tesla has “a terrifying pattern of rampant harassment,” the Washington Post’s women’s attorney told the Washington Post, and that doesn’t just apply to the Fremont factory.
Similar allegations also emerged earlier this week regarding SpaceX as Musk’s second billion dollar company. They started with an article by an engineer who started as an intern at SpaceX and worked there until this November. Then she initially took sick leave for panic attacks and quit shortly afterwards. During the whole time she was sexually harassed several times, according to her, which she reported to the HR department, but without any consequences.
Sexual assault reported to SpaceX
The engineer wrote that there had also been such attacks on female colleagues at SpaceX, and shortly afterwards the publication The Verge reported on four other women who spoke of such experiences. SpaceX is more interested in work itself than work culture, one of them said. In the case of male employees who perform well, the company accepts if they behave inappropriately towards women. All five who spoke out to The Verge said it was related to Musk’s SpaceX culture, according to the report.
Neither Tesla nor SpaceX commented on the allegations when asked by the publications. According to the report by the former engineers, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell is said to have written an email to everyone in the company, in which she asked for evidence of misconduct and announced an internal and then external review of the process for such reports.