The U.S. Justice Department sued Elon Musk’s rocket and satellite company SpaceX on Thursday, accusing it of discriminating against asylum seekers and refugees in its hiring practices.

“The lawsuit alleges that from at least September 2018 through May 2022, SpaceX routinely blocked asylee and refugee applications and refused to hire or consider them because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the DOJ said. Act,” he said in a statement.

For years, SpaceX has falsely claimed in job postings and public statements that under federal regulations known as export control laws, SpaceX can only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, sometimes called “green card holders,” the Justice Department said. “.

The Justice Department also pointed to online posts by the company’s billionaire owner, Musk, as examples of “discriminatory public statements.”

The lawsuit cites a June 2020 post by CEO Musk on X (formerly known as Twitter) to 36 million followers at the time saying: “U.S. law requires SpaceX to hire at least a green card because rockets are advanced weapons technology.”

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

“Our investigation found that SpaceX failed to fairly consider or hire asylees and refugees because of their citizenship status and imposed what amounts to a prohibition on hiring,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. conduct, regardless of their qualifications, that violates federal law.” Justice Department Civil Rights Division.

Clark also said that SpaceX recruiters and senior officials “actively dissuade” asylum seekers and refugees from seeking job opportunities at the company.

The U.S. seeks to give fair consideration and underpayment to asylum seekers and refugees who have been prevented or denied employment by SpaceX because of alleged discrimination, the Justice Department said.

The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties, the amount to be determined by courts and policy changes to ensure SpaceX complies with future federal nondiscrimination regulations.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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