The US Department of Justice just sued SpaceX, 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.
The IER opened this probe in 2020 after claimant Fabian Hutter alleged discrimination after losing a spot at SpaceX when asked about his citizenship status during a job interview. It's requesting other alleged victims to come forward and contact the department, particularly if they were discouraged from applying to SpaceX due to citizenship concerns.
Is this the only Elon Musk-led company facing legal troubles regarding hiring practices and employee treatment? Of course not! The self-proclaimed “Technoking of Tesla” faced penalties when a federal court found that Musk made unlawful threats surrounding employee compensation and unions. There’s also a suit making its way through the New York courts that alleges Musk and Tesla fired workers “in retaliation for union activity.”
Another big suit alleged a racist work environment at Tesla, which was recently settled for just over $3 million. Employees recently sued Twitter/X after Musk-led mass layoffs. The list goes on and on for the man who used to repeatedly state that he simply wants to save the world. Nowadays, he spends most of his time issuing controversial posts on X and being investigated for building literal glass houses using Tesla company funds.