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Planned Parenthood is being sued by an ex-employee, alleging she was fired for speaking out against its treatment of Black women.
Plaintiff Nicole Moore, their former director for multicultural engagement, based at the national headquarters in Manhattan, claims in the Wednesday complaint that Planned Parenthood has perpetuated a culture of racism where Black women within the organization are discriminated against through unequal work distribution and opportunities for move up the ranks.
“[Planned Parenthood] has blatantly ignored reports by dozens of its Black employees of systemic unequal hiring and promotion, more work for lower pay, overt hostility, and trafficking in stereotypes by leadership,” according to a copy of the complaint.
Moore, who says she served in the role from Jan. 13, 2020, through Nov. 2, 2021, also claims that “Black-centered campaigns were deprioritized and under-resourced.”
The plaintiff alleges that when she “politely spoke up about the inequitable distribution of work, she was falsely accused of being negative, angry, difficult to work with, and chastised for her ‘tone,’” and was then placed on a performance improvement plan. During that time, Moore claims that she “continued to be assigned significantly higher workloads than her white peers” and that her complaints regarding the “exorbitant” amount of work were dismissed.
According to the complaint, the allegations that Planned Parenthood detailed in its decision to place Moore on the plan included “a lack of communication,” and failure “to build effective relationships” – complaints that Moore claims are “demonstrable lies.” Moore claims that she was also “reprimanded for raising concerns about racial inequality at Planned Parenthood” and that those complaints were cited among the reasons for being placed on the plan.
“Planned Parenthood executives then proceeded to thwart Moore’s ideas, sabotage her projects, and subject her to unfounded disciplinary measures that were clearly intended to silence her complaints,” the complaint alleges. “The barrage of mistreatment caused Moore to suffer a panic attack so severe that she spent a day in the hospital. After complaining to HR that the disciplinary measures appeared to be retaliation for her complaints of racial inequality at the organization, she was summarily fired.”
Planned Parenthood disputed Moore’s allegations in a statement provided on Wednesday to ABC News.
“Planned Parenthood Federation of America’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,” Susan Manning, the interim general counsel for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said. “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. Planned Parenthood will vigorously defend against this suit, and welcomes the opportunity to share the complete picture.”
Moore was ultimately terminated on Nov. 2, 2021, according to the complaint. She alleges that her termination led to emotional distress and caused her health problems, including hair loss due to alopecia.
Although an amount is not specified in the complaint, Moore is seeking “emotional distress damages, compensatory damages, economic damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.”
In a statement, Moore said that “racism at Planned Parenthood directly impacts the access and quality of reproductive health care that Black women receive around the country.”
“If staffers are dealing with anti-Blackness, retaliation, and disregard in the workplace, how can we then expect this organization to possibly deliver compassionate care to Black women who are seeking their services? I hope that my story inspires real change at Planned Parenthood,” she added.
Information in this article was obtained via ABC News.