Current and former Planned Parenthood employees say the abortion vendor has mistreated and discriminated against pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace, according to a report in the New York Times.
The report, published Thursday, notes that interviews and legal documents indicate women employees of Planned Parenthood and other feminist organizations have “described discrimination that violated federal or state laws — managers considering pregnancy in hiring decisions, for example, or denying rest breaks recommended by a doctor.”
Some of the discriminatory behavior is described as “more subtle.”
“Many women said they were afraid to announce a pregnancy at work, sensing they would be seen as abandoning their colleagues,” states the report, adding:
[A]t Planned Parenthood, the country’s leading provider of reproductive services, managers in some locations declined to hire pregnant job candidates, refused requests by expecting mothers to take breaks and in some cases pushed them out of their jobs after they gave birth, according to current and former employees in California, Texas, North Carolina and New York.
Former Planned Parenthood employees and union representatives say the discrimination exists against pregnant employees and new mothers, with some employees expressing a disdain by management toward pregnant staff.
The report notes that one current and two former employees of a Miami Planned Parenthood facility said they were fearful of informing management about their pregnancies. In an interview, one reported that some fellow workers would volunteer to managers that they were not planning on becoming pregnant or were gay or single.
“It was looked down upon for you to get pregnant,” said Carolina Delgado, who worked in the Miami office until 2012, according to the Times. “I don’t think that any supervisor had to literally say it for us to feel it.”
The report notes:
A former hiring manager at a Planned Parenthood in California said that when internal promotions came up, supervisors openly debated whether candidates were likely to get pregnant in the near future and preferred those who were not. They declined to hire one pregnant woman and to promote one new mother, the employee said. (Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is illegal to consider whether a job candidate is or will become pregnant.)
Planned Parenthood clinics in Westchester County, New York, also reportedly discriminated against pregnant employees, according to Tracy Webber, former director of clinical services in a White Plains facility, who sued the organization in 2009 over having been fired four weeks after having her baby. Planned Parenthood settled out of court.
Similarly, a former Planned Parenthood employee in the New Rochelle clinic said that, when she became pregnant, managers dismissed her doctor’s note that recommended frequent breaks. She added that after she gave birth, her boss pressured her to return early from maternity leave.
Also, in the New Rochelle clinic, a medical assistant was reportedly fired in May, on the day she returned to work from maternity leave. A former human resources manager for the organization said managers often assumed pregnant employees who brought in doctors’ notes were simply trying to work less and that those taking sick days were not committed to the business.
According to the Times, Planned Parenthood blames its reported failure to provide paid maternity leave or appropriate workplace conditions for pregnant employees on continued threats of defunding by conservative lawmakers.
The organization’s most recent annual report, however, shows Planned Parenthood boosted its profits by $21 million – 27 percent – from the year before as the group also took in nearly $544 million in taxpayer funding.
“I believe we must do better than we are now,” Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement to the Times. “It’s our obligation to do better, for our staff, for their families and for our patients.”
Wen has been on a campaign to prove her organization is a true healthcare provider when its primary service is abortion. She recently tweeted her message that abortion is a “basic human right.”
Even Planned Parenthood’s own annual report shows pregnancy is not a priority. Its services to pregnant women have sharply declined over the past several years.
The number of prenatal services during 2016-2017 dropped to 7,762 – a 17 percent decline from the 9,419 performed during 2015-2016. In 2014-2015, Planned Parenthood claimed 17,419 prenatal services.