A former engineer at SpaceX for aviation, one of Elon Musk’s companies, accuses its management of age discrimination and asserts that he was told that management expects him to “retire or die”.
The 62-year-old former engineer says that Musk’s company discriminated against him on the basis of age during his time there.
John Johnson was appointed in 2018 at the age of 58 due to his experience in the “optics engineering” sector, which is an important specialty for a range of applications related to the work of airlines.
Musk requires his employees to be “hardworking” and work very long hours, and that includes all of his companies from Twitter and Tesla to SpaceX.
In his Lioness post, Johnson points out that he often spends 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week in the company’s California offices, and has consistently received positive feedback from managers during his performance reviews.
“As we move into this new era of wealthy industrialists leading the largest technology companies, I feel compelled to tell my story,” the engineer said. My previous job.
After his resignation in June, Johnson filed a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission alleging that SpaceX discriminated against him on the basis of age.
He adds that he injured his back in early 2019 and was undergoing physiotherapy for weeks, but he did not miss a single day of work. When his back did not improve, he required surgery, told his manager he would only be out for a few days and gave him a list of tasks he was working on.
Johnson alleges that SpaceX hired an engineer to take over his role in supplier development permanently without his knowledge, and reassigned another employee to take over his role in procurement.
“These guys in their 20’s and 30s took over my business right before surgery, scheduling meetings to implement everything I was doing,” the engineer wrote.
“Then they arranged a tour to get to know the suppliers that I spent months contacting and reaching out to, and I wasn’t even invited to accompany them,” he adds.
Johnson claims all the staff brought in to take over his job were decades younger.
When he told his manager that he noticed some kind of discrimination against the elderly at work, the human resources department was informed of this and they assured him that everything that bothered him happened because of a simple “misunderstanding”, and told him to monitor the internal job advertisements. And in early 2021, his new manager told him he had been set on another, non-managerial path.
According to Johnson, a manufacturing engineer hired to replace him relayed to him their manager’s words that Johnson “could retire or die”.
Johnson states that his age at the time of resignation was 61 years and that 6 years still separate him from the maximum retirement age, stressing that he was not thinking of retirement, as he was not sick or obese, and believed that he was in good health in general, according to what was mentioned in the article.
Johnson reached out to SpaceX President Gwen Shotwell to make sure they would investigate his claims, but received no response, and was later told that working conditions had changed and SpaceX no longer needed his area of expertise, forcing him to resign.
This is not the first time that SpaceX employees have alleged discrimination. Three women who trained with the company said they faced sexual harassment from other trainees and some senior leaders across a range of incidents.
A former SpaceX employee in November 2021 brought a case to court against the company alleging racial discrimination, discrimination of national origin, retaliation, and breach of contract terms.
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