SpaceX seeks to throw out Justice Department hiring practices case

SpaceX is currently being sued by the U.S. Justice Department claiming it discriminates against refugees and asylum seekers in its hiring practices. The Justice Department argues it unlawfully denied employment to asylees and refugees based on an incorrect interpretation of ECI and ITAR laws. ECI/ITAR laws protect sensitive information from ending up in the hands of foreign countries. SpaceX has argued that based on these regulations they are only able to hire U.S. Citizens and green card holders for these sensitive positions.

The Justice Department claims that Asylees and Refugees are considered U.S. Citizens under ITAR law. SpaceX has asked that the lawsuit be thrown out based on its strict need to adhere to ITAR and ECI regulations. SpaceX stated in the suit that “Every SpaceX employee has access to technology and data controlled by these statutory and regulatory regimes,” adding that, in the company’s experience, “many applicants who self-identify as asylees or refugees are not in fact asylees or refugees.”.

Loosening of hiring practices, in particular of ECI/ITAR regulated positions could lead to a greater insider threat chance. The Justice department will need to take this into account as they continue on in their lawsuit.