SpaceX Being Investigated By Justice Department For Alleged Employment Discrimination
The Department of Justice (DoJ) is investigating SpaceX over claims that it prioritises hiring US citizens over non-US citizens, court documents have shown.
A complaint filed yesterday, January 28, details a claim of employment discrimination made by a non-US citizen to the Justice Department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights division, a branch of the DoJ’s Civil Rights Division.
The claimant, who has not been identified, alleges that SpaceX did not hire him for a position after discovering he was not a US citizen and did not have a green card. The alleged incident, which occurred in March last year and was reported to the DoJ in May, is reported to have happened while the claimant was interviewing for a position as a Technology Strategy Associate for the company.
According to court documents reported by Reuters, SpaceX ‘made inquiries about his citizenship status and ultimately failed to hire him for the position because he is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident’.
The DoJ first notified SpaceX of the probe in June, more than six months before yesterday’s court filing was made in California. The department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights division reportedly asked SpaceX to provide information and documents relating to its hiring process, and later issued a subpoena to the company after it refused to send over ‘supporting documentation’ such as employees’ identification.
CNBC reports that Thursday’s court filing was made after SpaceX ‘repeatedly refused’ to comply with the subpoena, and told the Immigrant and Employee Rights division last month that it ‘does not intend to produce any additional information in response to the administrative subpoena’. The DoJ is asking for a court order to require SpaceX to provide the documents within two weeks.
According to the DoJ, the supporting documents are necessary to show how many non-US citizens are currently employed by SpaceX and determine whether there is evidence that the company does employ discriminatory hiring practices. SpaceX says that in order to comply with the request it would have to retrieve each document manually.
The US’s Immigration and Naturalisation Act prohibits discrimination against job candidates based on their citizenship status or nation of origin, and also bans employers from asking non-US citizens to provide more or different documents proving their eligibility than they do US citizens.
SpaceX has not publicly commented on the investigation or the court filing.
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