DOJ Sues SpaceX for Discrimination

The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX, alleging Elon Musk's company discriminated against asylees and refugees....
DOJ Sues SpaceX for Discrimination
Written by Matt Milano
  • The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX, alleging Elon Musk’s company discriminated against asylees and refugees.

    According to the DOJ, SpaceX discriminated against asylees and refugees in its hiring process, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The agency says the company discouraged such individuals form applying for jobs and refused to consider them from at least September 2018 to May 2022.

    SpaceX allegedly said “export control laws” — laws designed to control export of sensitive tech to hostile nations — prohibited it from hiring anyone but US citizens or green card holders. The DOJ says export control laws do not impose any such hiring restriction. What’s more, asylees and refugees are individuals fleeing persecution and are thoroughly vetted by the US government.

    “Our investigation found that SpaceX failed to fairly consider or hire asylees and refugees because of their citizenship status and imposed what amounted to a ban on their hire regardless of their qualification, in violation of federal law,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our investigation also found that SpaceX recruiters and high-level officials took actions that actively discouraged asylees and refugees from seeking work opportunities at the company. Asylees and refugees have overcome many obstacles in their lives, and unlawful employment discrimination based on their citizenship status should not be one of them. Through this lawsuit we will hold SpaceX accountable for its illegal employment practices and seek relief that allows asylees and refugees to fairly compete for job opportunities and contribute their talents to SpaceX’s workforce.”

    The DOJ is seeking back pay for individuals that were discriminated against:

    The United States seeks fair consideration and back pay for asylees and refugees who were deterred or denied employment at SpaceX due to the alleged discrimination. The United States also seeks civil penalties in an amount to be determined by the court and policy changes to ensure it complies with the INA’s nondiscrimination mandate going forward.

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