LOS ANGELES, CA., Sep 2, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – Moms on Watch, a watchdog group dedicated to making mother’s milk safe, affordable, and accessible, is demanding that the leadership of Prolacta Biosciences Inc. reflect the communities it serves.
Moms on Watch highlights the following statistics:
– It appears that there is only 1 woman serving on the 8-person Board of Directors
– Out of 17 people listed as Executives on the Prolacta website, only 4 are women
– It does not appear that there is even ONE person of color on either the Board of Directors or Executive Team
Moms on Watch had the following statement:
“It is shocking that Prolacta, a billion dollar company with hundreds of millions in revenue in the business of selling breast milk has an executive team that would fit well in the world of Mad Men. And if you look at the allegations against Prolacta: anti-competitive business practices, labor standard violations, sexual harassment, anti-LGBT discrimination; it is clear that they operate like an old boys club right out of the 1950s. Our group of moms believe that at the root of all of these allegations is a male-dominated chauvinist culture which emphasizes short term profits over all else and where wealthy and powerful men can engage in misconduct with impunity. Prolacta must join the 21st Century.”
Moms on Watch is aware of the following allegations against Prolacta:
1. A lawsuit (LA Superior Court Docket 19STCV37738) filed in October of 2019 by a former Director of Human Resources, Jacqueline Roeder, points to a systemic culture of racist, sexist and homophobic comments. These include allegations that VP of Operations made fun of an employee for being a lesbian and, together with CEO Scott Elster, declined to hire a candidate due to his sexual orientation. The lawsuit also cites pay disparities between male and female employees and a culture of inappropriate remarks by top executives.
2. The lawsuit from that same former HR Director also alleges an even more disturbing and potentially fraudulent practice of using milk donors’ DNA for research without their authorization. These allegations, if true, potentially amount to fraud.
3. Prolacta is currently in late stage litigation with a small Oregon based milk bank called Ni-Q LLC based on allegations that Prolacta fraudulently obtained bogus patents (US District Court of Oregon, Case No. 3:17-cv-934-SI).
4. Some of the reviews on job site Glassdoor again point to disturbing comments made by executives and a toxic good ol boy network where friends of Scott Elster are promoted over more qualified candidates. Accounts of inappropriate comments aren’t even limited to Glassdoor. One former employee recalls Scott Elster telling her that her “pregnant belly was disgusting” and that she shouldn’t have another baby.
5. Prolacta has sued Medolac, a Public Benefit corporation, in a case legal observers have called frivolous and predatory. This case appears like an attempt for Prolacta to silence competition and bury a smaller competitor in legal fees.
“Moms on Watch believes that companies, like people, should be given a presumption of innocence. Each individual allegation or battle may have a reasonable explanation but taken together there does not appear to be any reasonable explanation for a company of Prolacta’s size being allegedly engaged in anti-competitive business practices, sexual harassment, discrimination, and misuse of DNA. Prolacta’s deafening silence amidst these mounting allegations combined with the seeming failure of board members to start an independent investigation illustrates that the company isn’t even trying to seem like a good corporate citizen anymore.”
Moms on Watch is aware that a class action attorney is investigating allegations of Prolacta’s misuse of breastmilk donor DNA.
Alan Romero of ROMERO LAW in Pasadena, CA can be reached at (626) 396-9900 or on his cellphone at (626) 383-3391.
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