Judge orders SpaceX to comply with DOJ subpoena on its hiring practices

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U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee ruled Wednesday that SpaceX must comply with a Department of Justice subpoena for its hiring records in an investigation into whether the company discriminates against applicants based on their citizenship status. 

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division originally filed the subpoena last October for records related to the application of Fabian Hutter, who alleges that SpaceX denied his application because he isn't American. 

A SpaceX rocket with the company’s Dragon capsule is illuminated by spotlights on the launch pad, early Friday, April 23, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)

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"Specifically, the charge alleges that on or about March 10, 2020, during the Charging Party’s interview for the position of Technology Strategy Associate, SpaceX made inquiries about his citizenship status and ultimately failed to hire him for the position because he is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident," DOJ attorney Lisa Sandoval wrote in a court filing in January, according to Reuters. 

The DOJ is "also investigating whether [SpaceX] has engaged in a pattern or practice of citizenship status discrimination" and has requested documents related to 3,000 other employees, according to a December court order. 

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SpaceX has been fighting the subpoena for months, but Gee ruled Wednesday that the company has to comply within three weeks. 

"The government's application for enforcement of its administrative subpoena is GRANTED," Gee wrote in Wednesday's order. "Respondent SpaceX is ORDERED to comply in full with the subpoena within 21 days."

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. 

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