Planned Parenthood is one of the country’s leading reproductive rights organizations. It describes itself as a place that serves all patients with “care and compassion, with respect and without judgment.” But this week, a Black former employee put the organization on blast for what she describes as racism and mistreatment inside the powerful institution.
According to BuzzFeed News, Nicole Moore was Planned Parenthood’s Director of Multicultural Brand Engagement from January 2020 until she was fired in November 2021. She filed a lawsuit this week in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
According to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood does not live up to its tagline to ‘Care. No matter what,’ and instead has turned its back on Black employees who have reported instances of a hostile work environment, including unfair hiring and promotion practices. A portion of the lawsuit reads, “Instead of addressing the issues, Planned Parenthood has doubled down by punishing employees of color who dare to speak up, pretextually disciplining them and creating working conditions so intolerable that they are effectively forced to leave.”
Moore’s lawsuit claims that one of her supervisors, Rachel Moreno, the Vice President of Brand and Culture, was “inexplicably hostile” toward her, shutting down her ideas and intentionally blocking her path to success.
One of Moore’s Black colleagues, Nia Martin-Robinson, the Director of Black Leadership and Engagement, co-signed her complaints, saying she and other Black employees “experienced hostility from Moreno.” In the lawsuit, Black women say expressing their frustration was considered hostile. They also maintained a heavier workload and were “held to a higher standard” than non-black coworkers. Moore says she was placed on a performance improvement plan when she complained and ultimately fired in November 2021.
This isn’t the first time the organization has been accused of mistreating employees of color. Moore’s suit also mentions a 2020 BuzzFeed News report on claims of racism and hypocrisy inside Planned Parenthood. But lawyers for the organization are quick to contradict those claims. And Susan Manning, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Interim General Counsel, says they are looking forward to their day in court.
“Our staff is at the core of who we are, and we work every day to ensure a safe and welcoming environment,” she said. “We strongly dispute the plaintiff’s allegations against the organization and categorically deny her claims of discrimination. Planned Parenthood will vigorously defend against this suit, and welcomes the opportunity to share the complete picture.”
Moore stands by her claims and hopes her suit will “shed light on the fact that racism at Planned Parenthood directly impacts the access and quality of reproductive health care that Black women receive around the country.”