HomeArts & EntertainmentArtSpaceX Sued for Allegedly Discriminating Against Refugees

SpaceX Sued for Allegedly Discriminating Against Refugees

The United States Department of Justice’s civil rights division has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against SpaceX, Elon Musk‘s space exploration company, alleging that it discriminated against asylees and refugees in its hiring practices.

According to the suit, between September 2018 and May 2022, SpaceX allegedly “discouraged asylees and refugees from applying to the company by wrongly stating that SpaceX can only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents” in online job postings. The complaint alleges that if asylees and refugees did apply to work at SpaceX, they were routinely rejected, and that the company’s discrimination practices were “routine, widespread, and longstanding.”

The complaint states that the Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) opened an investigation into SpaceX’s hiring practices in 2020. When it informed SpaceX of the investigation, as is protocol, and requested the company’s records, the company allegedly failed to respond, prompting the IER to subpoena the records in 2021 and finding a “pattern or practice of unfair immigration-related employment practices.”

According to the suit, between 2018 and 2022, SpaceX posted 14 public job advertisements stating that the company could only hire U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Out of more than 10,000 hirings between September 2018 and May 2022, the suit alleges, SpaceX hired only one asylee, four months after IER informed the company it was under investigation.

In addition to these postings, the suit alleges that founder and CEO Elon Musk has a history of making public statements referencing the company’s discriminatory hiring practices, citing as one example a 2020 tweet by Musk claiming that “U.S. law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are advanced weapons technology.” Musk reiterated this in various video interviews referenced in the suit, citing U.S. export regulations to support his assertion that the company legally could not hire anyone without a “green card.”


According to the complaint, this is false, and “export control laws and regulations do not prohibit or restrict employers from hiring asylees and refugees.” Further, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on citizenship status.

A representative for SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stay Connected
Must Read
You might also like


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here