It may sound hilarious and far-fetched, but it’s not: the Department of Justice (DOJ) is aiming at SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company, for allegedly “preferring” to hire American citizens.
According to The Daily Wire, the DOJ stated that “in March 2020, a non-U.S. citizen inquiring about the technology strategy associate position at SpaceX was asked about his citizenship status. DOJ attorney Lisa Sandoval stated that SpaceX “ultimately did not hire him for the position because he is neither a U.S. citizen nor a lawful permanent resident.”
Also, last Thursday, the DOJ filed a request with a judge to order “SpaceX to comply with an administrative subpoena for documents related to how the company hires,” CNBC reported in an article titled “Justice Department Investigates Elon Musk’s SpaceX After Hiring Discrimination Complaint.”
The DOJ wants Elon Musk’s company to comply with its subpoena within two weeks.
“The disgruntled plaintiff initially filed an employee discrimination complaint with the DOJ’s “Immigrant and Employee Rights Section” (IER) on May 29, 2020,” reported The Daily Wire. “The IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which has an anti-discrimination provision that prohibits discrimination on the basis of citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee.”
The DOJ investigation on Elon Musk
The disclosures reveal that the “disgruntled plaintiff initially filed an employee discrimination complaint with the DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) on May 29, 2020.”
The IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which has “an anti-discrimination provision that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee,” according to the above-quoted article in the Wire.
“According to the document filed Thursday, SpaceX responded on Aug. 28th, sending the DOJ a Form I-9 spreadsheet, but “SpaceX refused to submit any supporting Form I-9 documentation, such as copies of employee passports, driver’s licenses or Social Security cards, as requested,”” the media outlet reported.
Last October 7th, the Immigrant and Employee Law Section obtained the subpoena from an administrative judge from the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO). Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s SpaceX received the subpoena on Oct. 12th.
According to the chronicle filed, on Oct. 20th, DOJ representatives met with SpaceX’s counsel; on Oct. 26th, Musk’s company requested revocation or modification of the subpoena, arguing that the subpoena exceeded the IER’s authority. Then, on Nov. 1st, the IER filed its opposition to the aerospace manufacturing and space transportation services company’s action.
A month later, on Dec. 1st, “OCAHO denied SpaceX’s petition to modify or revoke and ordered SpaceX to comply with the subpoena. On December 11, 2020, SpaceX said it had received OCAHO’s order, but notified the IER that it ‘did not intend to submit any additional information in response to the administrative subpoena.'”
The Department of Justice stated that “This Court should order SpaceX to comply with the subpoena because, as OCAHO ruled (1) the IER has authority to investigate SpaceX, (2) the IER followed the proper procedural requirements, (3) the evidence sought by the subpoena is directly relevant to the IER’s investigation, and (4) the investigation is not unduly burdensome.”
“Petitioner’s failure to demonstrate overbreadth or undue burden also means that this Court should not modify the subpoena, for example, by requiring the IER to accept a sample of the supporting Form I-9 documentation or something less than what is requested,” the DOJ concluded.