SpaceX sued by Justice Department on allegations of discriminatory hiring practices


The United States Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s SpaceX for allegedly discriminating against refugees in its hiring practices.

According to an DOJ news release dates August 24, the lawsuit claims that “from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX 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 (INA)”, and alleges that SpaceX falsely claimed in its job listings that only green card holders and United States citizens could work at the company because of federal export control laws.

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) applies to companies manufacturing spacecraft and rockets and limit foreign nationals from accessing key information about the vehicles for national security reasons; however, the DOJ’s lawsuit states that regulations such as ITAR do not prevent SpaceX from hiring refugees, whose “permission to live and work in the United States does not expire, and they stand on equal footing with U.S. citizens.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement “Our investigation found that SpaceX failed to fairly consider or hire asylees and refugees because of their citizenship status and imposed what amounted to a ban on their hire regardless of their qualification, in violation of federal law,” adding that recruiters at Spacex “actively discouraged asylees and refugees from seeking work opportunities at the company” and “failed to fairly consider applications submitted to the company by refugees.”

Editorial credit: L Galbraith /