Nonprofit Calls Pfizer’s Minority Fellowship Program Racially Discriminatory
Pfizer’s minority fellowship program is discriminatory toward Whites and Asians, claims the nonprofit Do No Harm, a group of healthcare professionals, policymakers and patients dedicated to protecting healthcare from discriminatory ideology.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York on Sept. 15, alleges that Pfizer’s nine-year Breakthrough Fellowship Program, which offers mentorship, internships, employment after undergraduate/graduate education and full master’s program scholarships to Black, Latino and Native American students and early-career colleagues, is illegal on multiple fronts. Not only does it violate the Civil Rights Act, it violates the Affordable Care Act, New York state and New York City law, the group alleged.
Although Pfizer also has the Summer Growth Experience Program, a similar initiative open to applicants of all races, what that program offers “is nowhere as comprehensive as the Fellowship’s investment in and commitment to the Breakthrough fellows, as [it] does not appear to offer opportunities for post-undergraduate/post-graduate employment or scholarship for master’s programs,” the group says.
Do No Harm is asking the court to temporarily block Pfizer from selecting the Fellowship’s 2023 class, enforcing its current racial requirements and running advertising for the program with the current requirements. It also has asked the court to permanently bar Pfizer from “maintaining racially discriminatory eligibility requirements” for the program and requests that the court order Pfizer to instate racially neutral criteria.
In a statement provided to CenterWatch Weekly, Pfizer said that it is aware of the lawsuit and stands behind its program.
“Pfizer is an equal opportunity employer proud of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as we strive to create a diverse workforce that represents the patients and communities we serve,” the company added.
At the time of writing, Pfizer’s website still listed meeting “the program’s goals of increasing the pipeline for Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native Americans” as a requirement.
Read the full complaint here: https://bit.ly/3C1Mt48.