Former interns say SpaceX ignored sexual harassment


But in the aerospace industry in general, men outnumber women by eight times, according to census data compiled by Data USA. More women shared stories of sexism and harassment at work. Women who work as interns and seek full-time employment can be particularly vulnerable to harassment and other forms of discrimination, especially when education against sexual harassment is insufficient, as Ms. Kosak said. Human relations departments, including those at SpaceX, say employees, have not always been quick to sanction or fire employees who have come under investigation.

Women from other space companies also described discriminatory workplace dynamics. In September, a group of 21 current and former employees of Blue Origin, the space company owned by Jeff Bezos, wrote in an essay on Lioness that the company was plagued by sexism and had retaliated against those who spoke out about the problems of security. The company has denied the charges.

Ms Kosak said in an interview that she felt compelled to go public with her experience at SpaceX after seeing the essay on Blue Origin, written by Alexandra Abrams, the company’s former employee communications manager, who was made redundant by Blue Origin in 2019..

On November 8, Ms Kosak said in an interview that she met Ms Shotwell and Brian Bjelde, the company’s chief human resources officer, about her complaint against the man she said groped her in 2018, as well as other complaints of gender discrimination. , but made no progress. “It was a meeting where I talked to them, they talked to me, and we all left and that’s it, she said.

When Ms Kosak resigned on November 22, she said the man who touched her in 2018 was still working at SpaceX. The man’s LinkedIn profile shows that he is still employed by the company.

Julia CrowleyFarenga interned for SpaceX from 2015 to 2017 while a student at Purdue University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She accused SpaceX in a retaliation lawsuit in 2020 after reporting uncomfortable interactions with her manager, who would schedule longer performance meetings with her than her male colleagues and repeatedly ask questions and comment on her love life. Another official allowed her to be transferred to another department, she said. But when she applied for a job in 2018, according to the lawsuit, she learned that the second manager had prevented her from getting an offer despite high performance scores. Ms. CrowleyFarenga and SpaceX settled the lawsuit earlier this year.

The former intern who worked for the company for five years said she had witnessed and heard about sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. While she cohabited with other women during her internships in 2016 and 2017, “half of them had stories about situations that made them uncomfortable,” she said.

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