A former Planned Parenthood executive is suing the nonprofit, saying she faced racism and hostility



CNN

A former Planned Parenthood executive is suing the nonprofit organization after she alleged the organization wrongfully fired her and retaliated against her after she made allegations of unfair treatment of black women.

Nicole Moore, who is black, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court. From January 2020 to November 2021, Moore served as Planned Parenthood’s director of multicultural brand engagement at its Manhattan headquarters.

In statements to CNN, Moore accuses Planned Parenthood of a widespread pattern of anti-Black racism, where she says her managers downplayed her complaints and then punished her.

He alleges that the organization created a hostile work environment where he was criticized for voicing concerns about racial disparities in the projects he ran; felt uncomfortable and tokenized in work meetings; and his department’s budget was significantly reduced after it had already been approved. Moore said a “performance improvement plan” was put in place after allegations of racism.

In a statement to CNN, Moore said she “wants to highlight that Planned Parenthood’s racism directly affects the access and quality of reproductive health care that black women receive across the country.”

“If the staff is anti-Black, retaliatory and demeaning, then how can we expect this organization to provide compassionate care to Black women seeking their services?” Moore said. “I hope my story inspires real change at Planned Parenthood, so that the organization lives up to its promise to ‘Stand With Black Women,’ starting with those who work there.”

Susan Manning, interim general counsel for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, denied Moore’s allegations in a statement to CNN. Manning said the organization’s top priority was to “build a culture of diversity” and provide “reproductive health for all.”

“Our employees are at the core of who we are and we work every day to ensure a safe and welcoming environment,” Manning said. “We strongly dispute the allegations made by the plaintiff against the organization and categorically deny her claims of discrimination. Planned Parenthood will vigorously defend against this lawsuit, and is excited to share the full picture.”

Planned Parenthood has been at the center of the abortion rights fight, facing perhaps its biggest hurdle in June in Roe v. Wade was overruled by the Supreme Court. Abortion restrictions are expected to have a major impact on black and brown women who live in states that have banned it and cannot travel for the procedure.

Moore said the pattern of racism she alleges at Planned Parenthood has affected other black nonprofits.

For example, when several employees of color complained about Planned Parenthood hiring only white crews to make videos, they were told to write a “diversity and inclusion” guide that the employees ignored, according to the complaint. Planned Parenthood frequently hired white friends and family of executives and paid them more than Black consultants, the lawsuit alleges.

And in 2020, Planned Parenthood hired a firm to conduct a racial audit in which Black workers complained of racism, overt hostility, lack of upward mobility and overwork. The results were leaked to Buzzfeed in October of that year.

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood released a statement to Buzzfeed at the time saying the nonprofit was “committed to confronting the organization’s legacy of white supremacy head-on” and that the audit was “an important component of the comprehensive and meaningful work we’re doing to create it.” . belonging and equity.

Susan Crumiller, Moore’s attorney, said Planned Parenthood’s unfair treatment of Black employees was nothing new.

“For years, many black employees have spoken out privately about racism at Planned Parenthood to no avail,” Crumiller said in a statement. “We are proud of Nicole for her courage to come forward and the honor of helping to hold the organization accountable. This action should be a wake-up call to Planned Parenthood, because it urgently needs to fix its culture if it wants to save abortion rights.”