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DoJ sues SpaceX for hiring discrimination against asylum seekers, refugees

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The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Thursday against Elon Musk’s SpaceX (SPACE) for allegedly discriminating against asylum seekers and refugees in hiring.

From at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX (SPACE) “routinely discouraged asylees and refugees from applying and refused to hire or consider them, because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the DoJ alleged.

In job postings and public statements over several years, the company wrongly claimed that federal export control laws meant it could hire only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, or “green card holders,” the agency said.

The DoJ also pointed to online posts from Elon Musk as examples of “discriminatory public statements,” including a June 2020 Twitter posts that said, “U.S. law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology.”

SpaceX (SPACE), like other companies that handle space- and defense-related work, is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations that limit its ability to share data or hardware, but DoJ said in its lawsuit that those rules do not limit whom the company can hire based on citizenship or immigration status.

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