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25 Aug 2023

Ayana Archie, NPR,
Zonebourse avec Reuters

USA: Justice Department sues SpaceX for allegedly not hiring refugees and asylees

"The Justice Department is suing SpaceX for allegedly not hiring refugees and asylees", 25 August 2023.

The Justice Department is suing Space X, accusing the Elon Musk-founded company of discriminating against refugees and asylum seekers in the hiring process.

The department alleges in the lawsuit filed Thursday that between September 2018 and May 2022, SpaceX violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by discouraging refugees and asylum recipients to apply for available positions in their marketing materials, rejecting or refusing to hire them and hiring only U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

SpaceX also falsely claimed it could not hire non-U.S. citizens because of export control laws, the Justice Department said.

In a reply posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, Musk called the lawsuit "yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes."

"SpaceX was told repeatedly that hiring anyone who was not a permanent resident of the United States would violate international arms trafficking law, which would be a criminal offense," Musk said in the post.

SpaceX builds and launches rockets, which limits its capacity to export certain technologies and software under export control laws…

However, "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," the department said in a statement.

It also alleges that in postings SpaceX put on job hunting sites and online forums, SpaceX employees specified available positions were only open to U.S. citizens. On applications, potential employees had to check a box indicating their citizenship status, which was then input into a database that managers and recruiters marked with rejection codes…

Out of about 10,000 hires between 2018 and 2022, only one person was an asylee and none were refugees, the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department is seeking to have SpaceX pay civil penalties determined by a judge, hire the applicants who were qualified but rejected because of their citizenship status and give back pay to those who were discriminated against.