Jury awards $3M to fired Glendale, Phoenix Planned Parenthood worker

A Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. [AP Photo/Jeff Roberson]

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Planned Parenthood Arizona employee who claimed she was wrongfully fired after she reported unsafe medical practices has been awarded $3 million in a civil case.

A Maricopa County jury returned the verdict Aug. 16 for Mayra Rodriguez, who worked for the organization for more than 15 years until her termination in 2017.

Ms. Rodriguez, who was an administrator at Glendale and northeast Phoenix locations, had made a series of complaints in the months before her firing, according to the lawsuit.

She reported concerns after noticing a trend of patients experiencing complications following abortion procedures by the same doctor, according to lawsuit. She also claimed the doctor required medical assistants to sign an affidavit before the surgery was performed stating proper medical practices were followed.

A supervisor later claimed narcotics were found in Ms. Rodriguez’s desk, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Rodriguez said the medication was not a narcotic and it was common practice to store medication in desks before transferring to another department for handling and disposal.

Her attorney, Tim Casey, said the verdict validated that Ms. Rodriguez was doing her job by reporting the concerns.

“It vindicated what she found and it ought to help our community be safer,” Mr. Casey said.

Planned Parenthood Arizona President Bryan Howard said in a statement that the organization was disappointed by the verdict and officials believe the former employee was fired for “failure to follow organization rules and procedures.”

“While we disagree with the verdict and the damages awarded, we will not allow this event to distract from Planned Parenthood’s 100% focus on protecting access to health care for those Arizonans who need it most,” Mr. Howard said. “We will consider next steps with that priority in mind.”

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