The U.S. DOJ is suing SpaceX, the rocket company run by Elon Musk, and the complaint filed in court says that SpaceX wrongly claimed that federal export control laws barred it from hiring anyone but U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This would amount to hiring discrimination against refugees and people granted asylum, the Associated Press reports. Export controls typically aim to protect U.S. national security and to further national trade objectives. They bar the shipment of specific technologies, weapons, information and software to specific non-U.S. nations and also limit the sharing or release of such items and information to “U.S. persons.”
But, the Justice Department noted that the term includes not only U.S. citizens, but also permanent U.S. residents, refugees, and those granted asylum. The department charged that SpaceX also refused to “fairly” consider applications from this group of people or to hire them. The positions in question included both ones requiring advanced degrees and others such as welders, cooks and crane operators at the company. The U.S. is seeking “fair consideration and back pay” for people who were deterred from or denied employment at SpaceX due to the company’s alleged discrimination, in addition to undetermined civil penalties.