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SpaceX Faces Lawsuit from US Justice Department for Alleged Hiring Discrimination

The US Justice Department said in a lawsuit that Elon Musk’s rocket company discriminated for years against refugees and persons awarded political asylum who were looking for work there.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX regularly discouraged people who had been granted asylum from applying and refused to hire or consider them because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Musk reaffirmed what he had previously asserted in a tweet on Thursday, claiming that SpaceX was unable to hire foreign nationals because of limitations on the dissemination of information about rocket technology.

The Justice Department accused SpaceX of falsely claiming in job advertising that it could only hire US nationals and those with green cards in violation of federal export control rules. These hiring limitations are not imposed by such legislation, the agency claimed. 

After receiving a complaint that he wasn’t employed by SpaceX after admitting during an interview that he wasn’t a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, the Justice Department has been looking into SpaceX’s recruiting practices since 2020. A federal judge mandated that SpaceX provide its hiring data as part of the investigation in June 2021.

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Allegations of Mistreatment

The US Justice Department said in a lawsuit that Elon Musk’s rocket company discriminated for years against refugees and persons awarded political asylum who were looking for work there

Black employees at Tesla Inc.’s Fremont, California factory have said that supervisors ignored the frequent use of racist insults on the assembly line and took a long time to remove graffiti with swastikas and other hate symbols written in public spaces.

Hundreds of African American workers at Tesla’s factory allegedly suffered from mistreatment, including harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, according to claims made by California’s civil rights department. Tesla is disputing these allegations.

Separately, former employees of SpaceX have brought a few cases in recent years alleging age, racial, and handicap discrimination. A former SpaceX technician filed a lawsuit against the business earlier this month in a state court in California, alleging that he was subjected to physical handicap discrimination and retaliation at work.

In the SpaceX lawsuit filed on Thursday, the US is requesting that a judge grant back pay and unspecified financial penalties for asylum seekers and refugees who it claims were denied employment at SpaceX.

Once employed, those who have been granted asylum and refugees have the same access to export-restricted data and materials as US citizens and green card holders, according to the department.

According to agency spokeswoman Aryele Bradford, the Justice Department refers to those who have received asylum or refugee status as asylees and refugees in its lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, SpaceX engaged in citizenship-based discrimination against refugees and those who had been granted asylum at various points along the recruiting process.

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Source: Seattle Times

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