Pfizer has excluded Asian and white applicants in its new “Breakthrough Fellowship Program,” a nine-year commitment that aims to boost minority representation in its workforce.
Available to undergraduate students in their junior year, the program will offer an initial 10-week summer internship, two years of full-time employment after undergraduate graduation, a fully paid two-year MBA, MPH or MS Statistics program, another summer internship between the first and second years of the chosen master’s program, and finally, employment with Pfizer after graduation...
Applicants must also meet Pfizer’s goals of “increasing the pipeline for Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native Americans.” This leaves out Asian and white applicants, raising discrimination concerns among observers.
“Major corporations seem to have forgotten that there’s such a thing as law,” Gail Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, told the Washington Free Beacon. “They seem to think that as long as they’re woke, they’re bulletproof.”
Asian Americans make up just 6.1% of the U.S. population, lower than Hispanic and Latino Americans (18.9%) and African Americans (13.6%). The non-Hispanic, non-Latino white population makes up 59.3%.
Heriot said the program has a “clear case of liability” under federal law. That includes the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracting, and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in employment.
At least three other lawyers contacted by the Free Beacon made similar comments. Adam Mortara, dubbed one of the country’s top civil rights attorneys, said the program is “so flagrantly illegal.”
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