The drip-drip-drip of lawsuits by disgruntled former SpaceX employees hasn’t turned into a torrent yet, but claims of unpaid forced overtime represent an unhelpful distraction as the company seeks a return to flight following a high-profile rocket failure.
In the latest case, Stan Saporito, a SpaceX structures technician until February, said in a suit filed Oct. 19 in California Superior Court in Los Angeles that he regularly was told to work overtime without pay.
“SpaceX required (its hourly employees) to work off the clock without paying them for all the time they were under SpaceX’s control performing post-shift duties, specifically by failing to provide enough labor hours to accomplish all the job tasks that SpaceX expected (them) to complete,” the suit claims. “(They) were required to clock out of SpaceX’s timekeeping system in order to perform additional work for SpaceX as required to meet SpaceX’s job requirements.”
The latest in a handful of similar recent SpaceX lawsuits first was reported by the Motherboard Vice website.
A SpaceX spokesperson said Oct. 22 that the suit was without merit.
“SpaceX denies the claims made in this complaint and will refute them in court,” SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said.
At least four similar lawsuits have been filed by ex-employees of the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company. All of the cases are pending.
Meanwhile, SpaceX expects soon to announce a date for its first rocket launch since the June 28 explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket and accompanying Dragon spacecraft.
So far, it has said only that two launches will come sometime in December — one for communications-services company Orbcomm, to be followed later in the month by one for satellite-operator SES.
On a related front, final word also is awaited from SpaceX regarding its probe of the blast. NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration are expected soon to get a final report for review and release to the public.