SpaceX sues DOJ in employment discrimination case

SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX has sued the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court in Texas, as the company aims to end the DOJ’s hiring discrimination case on constitutional grounds.

The countersuit comes after the DOJ sued the company last month, alleging that it discriminates in its hiring practices against refugees and people granted asylum in the United States. United. Unlike SpaceX’s suit, filed in the Southern District of Texas, the DOJ suit was filed within a division of the agency that adjudicates immigration cases, a key point of contention in the company’s response .

“SpaceX has not engaged in any practice or pattern of discrimination against anyone, including asylum seekers or refugees. On the contrary, SpaceX wants to hire the best candidates for every job, regardless of “either their citizenship status, and actually hired hundreds of non-citizens,” SpaceX’s attorney, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, wrote in the complaint filed Friday.

SpaceX’s lawsuit names three defendants, including U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

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At the heart of the dispute is the question of who the company can hire under military technology regulations, particularly given that rocket and spacecraft technology falls under international arms trafficking regulations and regulations on export administration.

“Every SpaceX employee has access to the technology and data controlled by these statutory and regulatory regimes,” the company wrote in the countersuit.

Founded in 2002, SpaceX employs more than 13,000 people in the United States. In its response, SpaceX claimed to have “hired hundreds of non-citizens, including individuals who were not U.S. persons under” the ITAR.

“Throughout its rapid growth, SpaceX has always sought, and continues to seek, to hire the most talented people possible,” the company said.

In recent years, SpaceX said its job postings averaged more than 90 applications each, and more than 100 applications for each of its engineering positions. SpaceX’s hiring rate exceeds acceptance rates at even the most selective and elite US universities, since “only about 1% of applications result in hire,” according to the company.

The DOJ has been investigating SpaceX since June 2020, when the department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section received a complaint of employment discrimination from a non-U.S. citizen.

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