A former SpaceX intern says she reported sexual harassment to HR — and it cost her the opportunity for a full-time job

  • A former SpaceX intern has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company. 
  • In her complaint, Julia CrowleyFarenga says reporting sexual harassment by a manager was met with retaliation. 
  • Eventually, it cost her the opportunity for a full-time job, the lawsuit says. 
  • SpaceX has not yet responded to the lawsuit and did not respond to a request for comment. 
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A former SpaceX intern has accused the company of retaliating against her for reporting a manager's inappropriate comments, eventually costing her the opportunity for a full-time job with the company.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, August 21, Julia CrowleyFarenga alleges her male manager in SpaceX's propulsion department would routinely bring up non-work-related things, like musing that their meeting would be better at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and commenting on her interactions with other male colleagues.

"I could spend the rest of my life trying to figure you out," the manager, who appears to no longer be affiliated with SpaceX, said in one instance, according to the complaint. She said she told HR that she was "very uncomfortable with her manager making such a comment without any indication from her that it may be invited."

Neither SpaceX nor the named managers in the complaint responded to a request for comment. SpaceX has not yet responded to the lawsuit in court. 

Eventually, CrowleyFarenga said she met with SpaceX's vice president of propulsion, Will Heltsley. According to the complaint, he agreed that there was "'some problematic behavior happening' and that he was going to talk to [the manager's] male intern to find out if 'this is happening because Erik is Erik or because you are you.'"

That's when things got worse, according to the lawsuit.

After five stellar performance reviews, the lawsuit claims, CrowleyFarenga's sixth performance review after three summers at the company was negative, despite frequently asking for performance feedback and being told that "she was doing fine."

When she applied for a full-time role, she was told the position was given to someone with more experience. However, "she later learned that Heltsley had stopped her from being hired," the lawsuit alleges.

She's now seeking a jury trial for damages to cover "emotional injuries, including nervousness, humiliation, depression, anguish, embarrassment, fright, shock, pain, discomfort, fatigue, and anxiety" from the experience at SpaceX.

Read the full complaint below: 

 

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