The Jury Talks Back

12/21/2018

NYT: Planned Parenthood Accused of Routine Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

According to a report in the New York Times, Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation routinely discriminate against pregnant employees, and do not provide paid maternity leave. Sharing their personal stories of discrimination and unfair employment practices, current and former employees make clear that at Planned Parenthood offices, a pregnant employee is often treated as a liability. Which makes sense if you’re in the business of killing babies:

As a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood, Ta’Lisa Hairston urged pregnant women to take rest breaks at work, stay hydrated and, please, eat regular meals.

Then she got pregnant and couldn’t follow her own advice.

Last winter, Ms. Hairston told the human-resources department for Planned Parenthood’s clinic in White Plains, N.Y., that her high blood pressure was threatening her pregnancy. She sent the department multiple notes from her nurse recommending that she take frequent breaks.

Managers ignored the notes. They rarely gave her time to rest or to take a lunch break, Ms. Hairston said.

“I had to hold back tears talking to pregnant women, telling them to take care of their pregnancies when I couldn’t take care of mine,” she said. “It made me jealous.”

Pregnant employees appear to be an inconvenience to the organization, and as such they can find themselves targeted by management:

Discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers remains widespread in the American workplace. It is so pervasive that even organizations that define themselves as champions of women are struggling with the problem.

That includes Planned Parenthood, which has been accused of sidelining, ousting or otherwise handicapping pregnant employees, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.

In interviews and legal documents, women at Planned Parenthood and other organizations with a feminist bent described discrimination that violated federal or state laws — managers considering pregnancy in hiring decisions, for example, or denying rest breaks recommended by a doctor.

In other cases, the bias was more subtle. Many women said they were afraid to announce a pregnancy at work, sensing they would be seen as abandoning their colleagues.

Some of those employers saw accommodating expecting mothers as expensive and inconvenient. Others were unsympathetic to workers seeking special treatment. (emphasis added.)

Employees who did inform their supervisors that they were pregnant could find themselves demoted. Women also felt it was a safeguard to lie to their managers about any plans for pregnancy because they knew they risked being stigmatized or mistreated.

Here is a broader look at the consequences of being pregnant as a prospective or current employee at Planned Parenthood:

[At] 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.

Most Planned Parenthood offices do not provide paid maternity leave, though many let new mothers take partially paid disability leave.

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.)

The discrimination makes sense when you consider that the business of abortion at Planned Parenthoods is based on a quota system. Money talks. And after all, those Lamborghinis aren’t going to buy themselves:

[P]revious investigations of Planned Parenthood have revealed that the national umbrella organization routinely imposes abortion quotas on its clinics across the country, incentivizing workers to convince women to obtain abortions. In one interview, a former Planned Parenthood manager and a former clinic nurse explained that executives rewarded clinics that met abortion targets with pizza parties or extra paid time off. Clinics that didn’t offer abortions were given quotas for abortion referrals made to other Planned Parenthood facilities.
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“I felt like I was more of a salesman sometimes, to sell abortions,” former Planned Parenthood nurse Marianne Anderson said. “We were constantly told we have quotas to meet to stay open.”

Is it any wonder that a group that profits from “terminating pregnancies” and offers little to no pregnancy care would neglect to have policies in place preventing managers from overworking or discriminating against pregnant mothers on their own staffs?

I would also ask if it’s really any surprise that a business whose primary source of revenue comes from “terminating” as many “pregnancies” as possible would want big, ripe bellies proudly announcing “Life!” walking through their hallways and exam rooms? That couldn’t possibly be good for the bottom line.

As a reminder, Planned Parenthood has always been a vocal do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do champion of paid maternity leave for women:

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In response to the report, Dr. Leana Wen, the new president of Planned Parenthood Foundation For American (PPFA), tweeted:

Reproductive health equity must include the right to become a parent and raise a family free from fear and discrimination. At @PPFA, we’re committed to doing better to support our pregnant and parenting staff.

At @PPFA, we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. When we learn about accusations that violate our policies and high standards, we move immediately to investigate and address them, as we are doing in this instance.

No response from Cecile Richards, who was the president of PPFA from 2006 to 2018 and under whose watch the routine discrimination occurred.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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