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Musk’s SpaceX Sued by Workers Over Unpaid Wages, Firings

Billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. was sued by ex-workers claiming the company didn’t warn them before a mass firing in violation of California state law.

Two former structural technicians at the rocket company’s Hawthorne, California, facility said they were among as many as 400 workers terminated in California last month without 60-day notice required under California law. They sued on behalf of all fired employees.

The law requires employers with at least 75 workers that order layoffs of at least 50 employees to provide written notice 60 days before the order takes effect, according to the complaint.

Space Exploration owes the fired workers as much as 60 days of back pay, $500 in civil fines for each day the company violated the lay-off warning rule and other penalties, according to the complaint filed in state court in Los Angeles Aug. 4.

Another worker claimed in a separate lawsuit filed Aug. 8 in the same court that Space Exploration required employees to work off the clock and failed to provide required meal and rest breaks for employees since 2010.

Companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. have faced similar lawsuits in California claiming workers were denied breaks.

SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Musk who also helped found electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc., designs, builds and launches rockets and has the goal of enabling life on other planets. Spokeswoman Emily Shanklin didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment about the lawsuits.

The cases are Lee v. Space Exploration Technologies, BC552901, and Smith v. Space Exploration Technologies, BC554258, Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County (Los Angeles).

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