spacex, discrimination, DOJ
In December, SpaceX successfully launched its Starship SN-8 test rocket, before it crash-landed in a massive fireball on its launch pad. Now, the company is making headlines for another reason: employment discrimination. (SPACEX/UPI/Shutterstock)

DOJ Investigating Elon Musk’s SpaceX for Hiring Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX for discrimination in hiring after a prospective employee filed a complaint saying the company rejected him due to his immigration status. Moreover, court documents from the DOJ suggest SpaceX is also stonewalling a subpoena for more information.

The DOJ’s complaint, filed Jan. 28 by DOJ attorney Lisa Sandoval says the DOJ’s Immigration and Employee Rights Section (IER) received the complaint in May 2020. The DOJ’s document says the individual interviewed for a position and was asked during the interview to disclose his U.S. citizenship status. After revealing he was not a U.S. citizen or a documented permanent resident, the company chose not to hire him.

The IER’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or referrals.

On June 8, the IER emailed SpaceX to request information and documents related to its hiring and employment eligibility verification practices. In August, the company responded, sending over a Form I-9 spreadsheet of employee information dating back to 2019. But SpaceX refused the DOJ’s request to include supporting documentation, like copies of employees’ passports, driver’s licenses or Social Security cards. In October 2020, the IER subpoenaed the documents, but the company did not hand them over.

SpaceX then filed a petition to dismiss the subpoena, saying the request exceeded the limits of the IER’s authority and that the documents were irrelevant. The DOJ’s administrative tribunal denied the petition. SpaceX was still ordered to comply.

In December 2020, the company acknowledged the order but said it does not intend to send over the required documents. The IER says these documents identifying employees are, indeed, relevant because they will reveal to what extent SpaceX hires non-citizens. It says retrieving these documents shouldn’t be especially burdensome, but the company claims it’d have to obtain each one manually.

The DOJ is now requesting a court order to force SpaceX to send the subpoenaed documents in within two weeks.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

Latest News

woke politics

Republicans Launch a War on ‘Woke’ Politics in Hopes of Big Legislative Wins in 2022

In 2020, former President Barack Obama warned that the phrase “Defund the Police” could become a dangerous rallying cry for the conservative right. But now, Republicans have apparently taken that warning one step further, declaring war on all things “woke.” Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur of NBC News wrote that…

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…