SpaceX is taking on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to court in response to allegations of unlawfully firing a group of employees. The NLRB filed a complaint against SpaceX, asserting that the company fired workers for drafting an open letter critical of Musk’s conduct.
Now, SpaceX is counteracting with a federal lawsuit, arguing that the NLRB’s actions and structure are unconstitutional.
In its initial complaint the NLRB alleges that SpaceX dismissed employees who were involved in drafting a letter criticizing Musk and claims the company engaged in coercive tactics such as interrogations and encouraging resignations from those involved in organized activities. SpaceX characterized the open letter as a “distraction to SpaceX employees around the country,” emphasizing its disruptive impact.
In the legal documents filed in the U.S. District Court on Thursday, SpaceX challenges the NLRB’s proceedings, specifically in front of an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ), asserting that these violate the company’s “constitutional right to trial by jury.” SpaceX takes it a step further by accusing the NLRB of violating the Constitution’s principles on the separation of powers, claiming the agency’s structure deviates significantly from traditional norms. (via Bloomberg)
SpaceX is asking the court to declare that the NLRB’s proceedings are unconstitutional and infringe on SpaceX’s right to a fair trial, and is seeking a temporary halt to the current legal proceedings, which are scheduled for a hearing in front of an NLRB ALJ on March 5th, 2024. The company is also asking the court declare the clauses limiting the removal of NLRB members and ALJs as unconstitutional.
In their lawsuit, SpaceX highlighted the speed with which they filed the request, noting that the NLRB took 18 months to file their complaint.
The harm to SpaceX, in the event declaratory and injunctive relief is not granted, far outweighs any harm, or mere inconvenience, to the NLRB if such relief is granted. In contrast to the NLRB, which did not file the adjudicative proceedings until 18 months after the allegedly unlawful conduct, SpaceX has filed this action as quickly as possible—as soon as the NLRB gave notice of an ALJ hearing.
You can read the full lawsuit below.