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DOJ files lawsuit against SpaceX for discrimination of refugees

SpaceX is in some hot water with these allegations from the DOJ – refuges and asylum seekers have long been denied from this space giant.

A worker working on machinery like what they have at SpaceX.

The United States Department of Justice filed suit against SpaceX for allegedly discriminating against refugees and asylum seekers. The DOJ claims that SpaceX failed to fairly consider asylees and refugees in its hiring practices. The DOJ alleges that SpaceX attempted to prevent asylees and refugees from even applying for a job by wrongly stating that the company could only hire U.S. citizens or green card holders.

This violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which gives asylees and refugees protection against discrimination in hiring unless a government contract requires the employer to do so. 

Getting into the lawsuit details

According to the lawsuit, the DOJ claims “SpaceX’s discriminatory hiring practices were routine, widespread, and longstanding, and harmed asylees and refugees.” In May 2020 the Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER) Section of the DOJ opened an independent investigation into SpaceX’s hiring practices, but the alleged actions may have begun as early as September 2018.

The DOJ brought the action to stop the discriminatory practice and to seek relief for the victims were denied employment. In its press release, the DOJ also asks that asylees and refugees with relevant information contact them. 

SpaceX contends that it was only allowed to hire citizens due to export control laws, which govern the manufacture and export of defense-related products. The DOJ maintains that asylees and refugees have the same protections as US citizens in hiring. Asylees and refugees are immigrants to the United States who have been fully vetted by the government to obtain their status. 

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What businesses should know

This is not the first time SpaceX has faced labor complaints. In a company with an estimated 12,000 or more employees, labor complaints are almost a given. It should be a reminder to other businesses to make sure that you aren’t discriminating against protected classes of people in hiring. Whether it’s age, race, national origin or sex, check your hiring practices regularly to avoid a lawsuit.

Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.


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