SpaceX Faces Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Gender and Racial Pay Disparities

SpaceX faces lawsuit over gender and pay disparities. Ashley Foltz's case and its impact on workplace equality.
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SpaceX, the pioneering aerospace company, finds itself embroiled in a class action lawsuit that alleges disparities in pay between women and minority employees compared to their white and male counterparts.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on a Tuesday, is spearheaded by Ashley Foltz, an engineer at SpaceX. Foltz claims that upon her hiring in September 2022 as a propulsion engineer, she was offered a salary of $92,000. Interestingly, men with similar qualifications and experience were reportedly offered salaries as high as $115,000 for the same role. As of now, Ashley Foltz has not provided a response to TechCrunch's request for comment, as indicated on her LinkedIn profile.

The root of the issue appears to be linked to a new California law that mandates employers to disclose pay scales in their job postings. It was through this requirement that Foltz discovered the wage disparities. The officially stated salary range for her position was between $95,000 and $115,000. In response to this revelation, SpaceX did offer her a raise, but it was limited to the lowest end of the salary bracket.

Furthermore, the lawsuit contends that job titles are being used as a means to justify lower pay for women and minority employees. For instance, it alleges that individuals from these groups are assigned roles like "technical writer" instead of "engineer 1," leading to lower compensation. Additionally, the lawsuit asserts that promotion rates differ significantly between women, minorities, and their white, male counterparts.

It's worth noting that this is not the first time SpaceX has faced accusations of discriminatory hiring and promotion practices. In August, the U.S. Department of Justice took legal action against the company, alleging that it discriminated against asylum recipients and refugees under the guise of adhering to export control laws.