The US Department of Justice alleging that the company engaged in discriminatory hiring practices against refugees and asylum seekers. The suit says that these practices occurred between 2018 and 2022 and that SpaceX “wrongly claimed” that export control laws limited it to hiring US citizens and lawful permanent residents.
The DOJ began its investigation in 2020 when the department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section received complaints of employee discrimination. Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that the “investigation found that SpaceX failed to fairly consider or hire asylees and refugees because of their citizenship status” going on to say that this amounted to a “ban” regardless of their qualifications. This is a violation of federal law.
The investigation also found that “SpaceX recruiters and high-level officials took actions that actively discouraged” these people from seeking employment with the company.
The DOJ lawsuit seeks damages and back pay for “asylees and refugees who were deterred or denied employment at SpaceX.” It also seeks civil penalties and hiring policy changes from the company. The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) even alleges that SpaceX ignored a subpoena related to the suit in 2021, forcing the DOJ to request a judge order the company to comply with document requests.