Stepping a foot into another controversy, Elon Musk’s SpaceX was sued by The United States Department of Justice.
The lawsuit was filed earlier in August claiming that the company was discriminating against refugees.
The DOJ's lawsuit is based on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of their immigration status.
The INA also prohibits employers from encouraging or coercing job applicants to withdraw their applications based on their immigration status.
Why was SpaceX Sued?
The Department of Justice (DOJ) mentions: “The Justice Department filed a lawsuit today against Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) for discriminating against asylees and refugees in hiring.”
“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 (INA),” it adds.
In basic terms, SpaceX was not offering jobs to asylees and refugees stating that the federal regulations don’t allow the company to hire citizens that are based out of the United States.
SpaceX used the federal regulation known as "Export Control Laws" to justify denying jobs to refugees and asylum seekers. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarified that Export Control Laws do not allow such hiring restrictions.
The DOJ mentions: “Export control laws impose no such hiring restrictions. Moreover, asylees’ and refugees’ permission to live and work in the United States does not expire, and they stand on equal footing with U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under export control laws.”
“Under these laws, companies like SpaceX can hire asylees and refugees for the same positions they would hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. And once hired, asylees and refugees can access export-controlled information and materials without additional government approval, just like U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents,” it adds.
The DOJ alleges that SpaceX violated the INA by engaging in the following discriminatory practices:
- Falsely claiming that it was not allowed to hire non-U.S. citizens, even though the INA allows employers to hire refugees and asylum seekers.
- Discouraging refugees and asylum seekers from applying for jobs at the company by stating that they were unlikely to be hired.
- Failing to consider job applications from refugees and asylum seekers in a fair and timely manner.
The DOJ is seeking a court order to require SpaceX to stop discriminating against refugees and asylum seekers in its hiring process. The DOJ is also seeking to require SpaceX to compensate refugees and asylum seekers who were discriminated against by the company.