Author Topic: Dept Of Justice Investigating SpaceX For Not Hiring Non-US Citizens  (Read 47624 times)

Offline darkenfast

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CNBC story regarding an investigation into SpaceX's policy of not hiring non-US citizens. I have a sneaking suspicion that the person complaining knew full well about the policy before they applied. SpaceX is resisting handing over personal employee details including copies of passports, driver's licenses and social security cards. Not quite sure were this case is going to go.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/28/doj-investigating-spacex-after-hiring-discrimination-complaint-.html   
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Offline EspenU

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Hasn't Musk stated several times that they don't hire non-U.S citizens at SpaceX due to the problems it causes with ITAR?

Offline Star One

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Hasn't Musk stated several times that they don't hire non-U.S citizens at SpaceX due to the problems it causes with ITAR?
I hadnít heard that. Got any links as it sounds plausible.

Offline EspenU

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Hasn't Musk stated several times that they don't hire non-U.S citizens at SpaceX due to the problems it causes with ITAR?
I hadnít heard that. Got any links as it sounds plausible.
Not at a PC at the moment so don't have links. But I think there was a presentation where someone asked if he would hire non-U.S, and he had the ITAR reply.
It might have been the infamous Q&A session of the Guadalajara presentation.

I've seen it mentioned other times as well, but don't recall where.


Offline soltasto

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Offline Star One

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Note that ULA does the exact same:

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1354454807239647232
How easy would that be for the British person mentioned in that Tweet?

Offline rubicondsrv

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Hasn't Musk stated several times that they don't hire non-U.S citizens at SpaceX due to the problems it causes with ITAR?
I hadnít heard that. Got any links as it sounds plausible.
this is a common policy with companies dealing with ITAR. 

only US citizens or permanent residents can have access to ITAR information without it being considered an export and needing a permit. 

that does not mean there is not something to this specific complaint, but simply excluding non citizens/permanent residents from the entire business is a common way to ensure ITAR information is not inadvertently "exported" without a permit.


The complaint appears to be that they require any employee to be a US Citizen. That is different than the US Person requirement referred to by Tory. The later merely means that a person has a permanent residence in the US. In that case, you need to be careful that the company can show they turned up some suspicious activity or problems that could leave them vulnerable to be made a spy.

Offline Frogstar_Robot

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How easy would that be for the British person mentioned in that Tweet?

How on Earth would anyone know that apart from the individual concerned??

It sounds like you are asking us to dox someone. A definite no no.
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Offline Frogstar_Robot

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Note that ULA does the exact same:


Yes, so this seems like a weird complaint. A "Technology Strategy Associate" would inevitably come into contact with ITAR data.

People in non-technical positions could be hired without ITAR clearance, provided there were mechanisms to prevent contact with ITAR data (e.g by restricting access to certain offices).

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Offline goatgobahh

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Hasn't Musk stated several times that they don't hire non-U.S citizens at SpaceX due to the problems it causes with ITAR?
I hadnít heard that. Got any links as it sounds plausible.
this is a common policy with companies dealing with ITAR. 

only US citizens or permanent residents can have access to ITAR information without it being considered an export and needing a permit. 

that does not mean there is not something to this specific complaint, but simply excluding non citizens/permanent residents from the entire business is a common way to ensure ITAR information is not inadvertently "exported" without a permit.

I believe there are some relatively recent restrictions added (since the theft of several aerospace IP directly by employees) to include anyone who was a Chinese national, even with permanent residence. Same bill as ITAR ban on ISS.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2021 12:04 pm by goatgobahh »

Offline Robotbeat

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Yeah, itís now harder to do this stuff even if youíre a permanent resident.

SpaceX would be delighted if they could hire non-citizens and non-permanent-residents. But itís not really allowed.
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Offline steveleach

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Looks like a simple question of whether the DOJ requested personal information (of employees not directly involved) that was not absolutely necessary.

I would hope that as a responsible employer, SpaceX takes appropriate steps to safeguard the personal information of its employees, even against government agencies.

This is likely a completely normal "company lawyers arguing with government layers over interpretation of law" situation. It will work itself out through the courts, or through negotiation.

The article doesn't mention whether the candidate was even entitled to work in the US; I presume they are, otherwise this would be a total non-issue.

IMHO, the only reason this is in the news is that putting "SpaceX", "Musk" or "Telsa" in your headlines sells advertising.

Offline rubicondsrv

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Yeah, itís now harder to do this stuff even if youíre a permanent resident.

SpaceX would be delighted if they could hire non-citizens and non-permanent-residents. But itís not really allowed.

that would make sense, I would expect keeping up with the ever changing rules on restricted nationalities would make hiring non citizens rather impractical even if technically legal. 

Offline rubicondsrv

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This is likely a completely normal "company lawyers arguing with government layers over interpretation of law" situation. It will work itself out through the courts, or through negotiation.

The article doesn't mention whether the candidate was even entitled to work in the US; I presume they are, otherwise this would be a total non-issue.



arguably it is a non issue regardless, as employment law disputes are frequently litigated and in many cases the laws in question are so poorly written and defined that until the litigation occurs there is no real certainty of what is and is not acceptable. 

every larger company has these disputes from time to time

Offline Robotbeat

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline rubicondsrv

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

I run an ITAR shop, I wouldn't hire a non citizen without extensive discussions with lawyers first.   

Offline Robotbeat

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Thereís technically question about whether ITAR is even Constitutional. And yeah, itís overly broad and I donít blame SpaceX for being careful about this.

I run an ITAR shop, I wouldn't hire a non citizen without extensive discussions with lawyers first.
Yup. I only hire interns (in an ITAR relevant context), but same deal. Stuff is considered unreleasable to the public without first getting approval by the lawyers. Imagine trying to get approval from lawyers for every thing you shared with someone you hired.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Star One

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How easy would that be for the British person mentioned in that Tweet?

How on Earth would anyone know that apart from the individual concerned??

It sounds like you are asking us to dox someone. A definite no no.
Huh it was a genuine question. Stop looking for malicious intent when there isn’t one.

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