A former SpaceX employee said the company is teeming with a sort of “frat bro mold” that has no place for any experienced person over 40.
In a post on the whistleblower site Lionessformer SpaceX chief engineer John Johnson, now 62, says he’s as ‘hardcore’ as CEO Elon Musk claims that he wants his employees to be. He also has claimed that he worked long hours – 10 to 12 hours a day – and worked nights and weekends. He went on to say he continued to work at company facilities during the pandemic.
In an interview with The edgeJohnson said he was 20 when he started in the optical industry, and later became a major part of SpaceX optical projects after being hired in 2018 at the age of 58. year. LinkedIn describes years spent in several technology and aerospace companies.
He told The Verge that SpaceX was “scruffy” and often involved in a lot of physical labor, despite the company’s best efforts. huge multi-billion dollar government contracts. The work often involved moving around job sites with heavy implements and dragging other equipment on pallet jacks. According to his own account on Lioness, in 2019 he injured his back at work and endured weeks of physiotherapy, although he continued to work during this time, even delaying surgery for months. Still, in the run-up to the deal, he said the company hired new, younger employees to take over their previously assigned roles. He further alleged that these intruders passed off his work as their own and had far less experience than he did in any of their new roles. Many of these new reassignments came from Stellar Link management, he said.
After alleging age discrimination, Johnson said he met with human resources officers who told him they were “misunderstandings”, although after being transferred to Redmond, Washington from Los Angeles, California, he was told he was on a non-managerial path.
Johnson said he was not overweight or in poor health and had no retirement plans yet, but management asked these new engineers to return to work. His supposed replacement sent to observe him allegedly told the optical engineer that management expected him to “retire or die” soon enough. After more meetings with HR and losing responsibilities, he said he submitted his resignation in June this year, according to The Verge.
Johnson also said Bloomberg he filed a discrimination complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission. During his time at SpaceX, Johnson also reported his issues with Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and chief operating officer, who told him there would be an investigation. SpaceX didn’t respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment (of course not, it’s a Musk company) and Johnson said he had never heard of the investigation.
This is not the first time that an employee has denounced discrimination at SpaceX. Last year, the company’s former engineer, Ashley Kosak, claimed the company was “plagued by sexism” and that she has experienced several episodes of sexual harassment. Each time she went to HR with complaints, she alleged that she had been brushed off. Kosak also claimed to have met Shotwell, but that shortly after, while on leave, the company asked him to sign a nondisclosure agreement regarding the allegations.
Shotwell has long followed the company’s line and has been particularly defensive of his boss Elon Musk when he was arrested for sexual harassment. When some SpaceX employees circulate an open letter to complain Musk tweets gave the company a bad image, Shotwell would have fired them all, what the fired employees say was done illegally.
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