Pfizer shareholders demand company end 'illegal, discriminatory policies'

The shareholders said policies create "risks" and "materially threaten" the value of the company.

Updated: September 27, 2022 - 3:52pm

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Pfizer shareholders are demanding that the pharmaceutical company stop policies they say are "illegal" and "discriminatory" after a lawsuit earlier this month alleged that Pfizer discriminated against whites and Asians in a fellowship program.

The shareholders, represented by the non-profit public interest law firm, the American Civil Rights Project, wrote in a letter last week that Pfizer's policies create "risks" and "materially threaten" the value of the company.

Pfizer's "Breakthrough Fellowship Program" only allows applicants who are black, Latino or Native American. The group, Do No Harm, argued in a lawsuit earlier this month that Pfizer violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act and New York law through the program by specifically excluding white and Asian applicants.

The shareholders also stated that Pfizer's goal to have 50% of all summer interns come from a minority group is set "above the percentage for all American minorities in the population at large."

The company's "incentivization of discrimination" will result in "an open, standing invitation to federal litigation, offered to countless potential, individual applicants for positions spanning the entire range of Pfizer's workforce," the group said.