The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer offers a prestigious fellowship that bars whites and Asians from applying. Trumpeted on the company’s website as a “Bold Move” to “create a workplace for all,” civil rights lawyers are characterizing it in a different way: as a blatant violation of the law.
“This Pfizer program is so flagrantly illegal I seriously wonder how it passed internal review by its general counsel,” said Adam Mortara, one of the country’s top civil rights attorneys.
Pfizer’s “Breakthrough Fellowship” offers college students multiple internships, a fully funded master’s degree, and several years of employment at the pharmaceutical giant. It also restricts applications to “Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native American” students, the fellowship requirements state.
In a Frequently Asked Questions brochure about the nine-year program, Pfizer asserts that it is an “equal opportunity employer.”