Former employee accuses Planned Parenthood of racism

A former Planned Parenthood employee filed a lawsuit against the company on Wednesday, accusing the organization of racist and discriminatory practices while she was employed in New York. 

Nicole Moore, who is Black, accused the national reproductive rights company of widespread discriminatory practices in the complaint. She alleges Black employees were frequently given more work and fewer opportunities to lead, while Black-focused efforts were often under-resourced.

When Moore, who was Planned Parenthood’s director of multicultural brand engagement, spoke up about the discrimination she says she saw, the company allegedly retaliated by accusing her of being angry and difficult to work with and “sabotaged” her work, according to the complaint.

“The barrage of mistreatment caused Moore to suffer a panic attack so severe that she spent a day in the hospital,” the lawsuit reads. “After complaining to [human resources] that the disciplinary measures appeared to be retaliation for her complaints of racial inequality at the organization, she was summarily fired.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan. Moore, who was employed at Planned Parenthood from January 2020 to November 2021, is demanding a jury trial and seeks emotional, compensative and punitive damages.

Susan Manning, the interim general counsel for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, disputed the allegations in the lawsuit and said the organization’s “top priority for our dedicated staff is building a culture of diversity across the organization to fulfill our mission of reproductive health for all.” 

“Our staff is at the core of who we are and we work everyday to ensure a safe and welcoming environment.  We strongly dispute the plaintiff’s allegations against the organization and categorically deny her claims of discrimination,” Manning said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood will vigorously defend against this suit and welcomes the opportunity to share the complete picture.”

This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has faced accusations of racism and discrimination in the workplace.

In 2020, a BuzzFeed investigation found Black employees reported continuous racist encounters with white employees and felt they were being treated differently.

Moore claims in the complaint that she was subjected to poor treatment from her manager, who she alleged was “openly hostile.”

The complaint states that Moore “was overlooked, overworked, over-scrutinized, tokenized, interrupted, dismissed, belittled, and abused by an openly hostile supervisor about whom many had complained about as racist.”

Moore said that when she complained about the alleged racial disparities, she was sent emails from superiors threatening termination. She was also given an “exorbitant” number of tasks to complete under that threat, she said.

Moore suffered an anxiety attack in October 2021 and was fired not long after she returned to work, according to the complaint.

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