Two companies headed by Elon Musk, Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SpaceX, were among the lowest paying tech firms, according to a 2016 survey at PayScale. Some 4,100 current and former SpaceX employees filed a class action lawsuit, and a settlement was announced last Wednesday.
SpaceX will pay out $4 million to settle the claims. The plaintiffs’ lawyers will get $1.3 million of that, and each worker will receive about $500, according to a report at Inverse. The highest payouts are estimated to be worth about $2,000.
The lawsuits were filed in 2014 and 2015 and later grouped by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Plaintiffs alleged that SpaceX structured its shifts in such a way as to eliminate the workers legally mandated rest and lunch breaks. Workers wanted to be compensated for those extra hours, something that SpaceX apparently refused to do.
According to last year’s PayScale report, employees at both Tesla and SpaceX appear to have other reasons to work for these low-paying companies:
Although the employees at Elon Musk’s companies (SpaceX and Tesla) are among the lowest paid and most stressed out in the tech industry, they believe, much more than employees at other tech companies in this report, that their job has meaning. Ninety-two percent of tech employees at SpaceX believe their job makes the world a better place, followed by 89 percent at Tesla. On average, 57% of employees employed by the companies in this report believe their job has meaning.
Earlier this year, an auto assembly worker spoke about pay and working conditions at the Tesla plant in northern California. Musk rejected the charges and downplayed the worker’s calls for unionization.