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ASPCA Sued For Gender and Pregnancy Discrimination

Recently, we reported on several instances of the toxic workplace that has seemingly taken over the ASPCA. We covered scathing Glassdoor reviews, as well as a racial discrimination lawsuit against the ASPCA.

We’ve discovered more allegations against the ASPCA.

In 2020, Lourdes Bravo filed a human rights lawsuit against the ASPCA alleging gender and pregnancy discrimination. Read the full complaint here. The case is still active, according to the New York state court system.

While working for the ASPCA, Bravo says she suffered two miscarriages but took just one day off to recover. Both times, Bravo says she received “cold and hostile” reactions from her supervisor, senior vice president Gail Buchwald.

In 2016, Bravo found out she was pregnant a third time. She alleges that after informing her supervisor of her pregnancy, she was subjected to a hostile work environment.

She also claims that upon returning from maternity leave, she was denied opportunities that her colleagues received, and the promotion she was promised was given to a man who had much less experience and credentials.

In September 2017, Bravo says she reported the situation to a human resources representative who said that she would “look into it.” Bravo then met with Buchwald to discuss her concerns. However, she alleges Buchwald was very dismissive and not interested in discussing the “details,” and said they should all focus on “moving forward.”

That same day, Bravo says she reported Buchwald’s behavior to HR. Buchwald was extremely annoyed at Bravo for doing this and proceeded to sarcastically apologize for not adhering to the ASPCA’s policy of “communicating with subordinates.”

After reporting her frustrations to Human Resources again, Bravo claims the ASPCA repeatedly ignored her.

In May 2018, Bravo returned to work after using her remaining New York State Paid Family Leave for child bonding. That same day, Bravo says she was informed that her position was “eliminated” due to “restructuring,” despite there being several available positions at the time. After 10 years with the organization, she was then physically escorted out of the building and not allowed to collect any of her belongings, she alleges.

Buchwald does not appear to work for the ASPCA any longer, but does appear to currently be a Zumba instructor offering online classes. The last record we can find of Buchwald on the ASPCA’s tax return, which lists executives and their compensation, is 2017, when Buchwald made over $260,000 in compensation.

Bravo’s story is just one of many we’re discovering against the ASPCA. Discrimination is unacceptable, but it’s particularly egregious if it’s perpetuated at an organization that claims to be dedicated to humane values.