SpaceX is under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly sidelining refugees and asylum seekers in its recruitment process.
From 2018 to 2022, Elon Musk's brainchild purportedly contended that export control laws constricted its hiring exclusively to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
This legal face-off was initiated after a complaint in June 2020 by a non-U.S. citizen, which thrust SpaceX's employment practices into the DOJ's spotlight.
According to Kristen Clarke, a key figure in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, the probe revealed SpaceX's seemingly skewed hiring views, which she claims heavily disadvantaged asylees and refugees.
The DOJ's findings suggest that the company didn't just overlook them but actively discouraged them from pursuing opportunities, despite their qualifications.
“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,” Clarke stated, CNBC reported.
SpaceX, when approached by CNBC, kept its cards close to the chest and didn't comment on the matter.
The DOJ's legal gambit aims for a just reevaluation and compensation for those allegedly dissuaded or barred from joining SpaceX due to perceived discrimination. The lawsuit also seeks structural reforms and civil penalties for the space giant.
This isn't SpaceX's first tangle with the DOJ's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER). Last year, IER accused SpaceX of putting up walls against a related subpoena. SpaceX's attempt to dismiss the subpoena was thwarted in a DOJ tribunal.
Fabian Hutter, the individual whose grievance steered the DOJ's attention to SpaceX's practices, remains silent on the recent developments.
Hutter's initial grievance highlighted a questionable moment during his 2020 job interview when he was queried about his citizenship.
Despite being a lawful U.S. resident with dual Austrian-Canadian citizenship, his complaint insinuates that he faced prejudice at the hands of SpaceX.