DOJ Sues SpaceX Over Alleged Discriminatory Hiring Practices

SpaceX Crew-7 Launch To Bring Astronauts To International Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 25: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft sits on Launch Complex 39A after its launch was scrubbed at the Kennedy Space Center on August 25, 2023 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA's SpaceX Crew-7 mission is the seventh crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
11:59 AM – Friday, August 25, 2023

The United States Justice Department (DOJ) has sued SpaceX over allegations of discriminating against asylum recipients and refugees during their hiring process.


On Thursday, the Justice Department released a statement regarding the lawsuit against the rocket and satellite company owned by Elon Musk. 

“The lawsuit alleges that, from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX routinely discouraged asylees and refugees from applying and refused to hire or consider them, because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the Justice Department said.

The DOJ reportedly cited online postings and statements by Musk and other SpaceX executives and recruiters that allegedly discouraged refugees and those granted asylum from applying for jobs at SpaceX by claiming the company can only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and alleged that refugees that did apply were ignored.

According to the lawsuit, a June 2020 post on X by CEO Musk had been cited which said that the “U.S. law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology.”

SpaceX argued that the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulation prohibited the company from hiring non-citizens. However, according to the lawsuit, the Justice Department stated that those pieces of legislation treat refugees and those who have been granted asylum “just like U.S. citizens.”

Immigration Attorney Jonathan Grode claimed that companies like SpaceX are not prohibited from hiring foreign nationals. However, he said that they do have to seek certain visas for refugees or obtain government approval when it comes to ITAR restrictions.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who is part of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said a DOJ 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”.

Clarke continued by stating that SpaceX recruiters and high-level managers “actively discouraged” asylum seekers and refugees from applying for jobs at the corporation.

The lawsuit also seeks monetary penalties, which the court will determine how much, to guarantee that SpaceX continues to comply with the federal non-discrimination rule.

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