The Center for Reproductive Rights Reviews | Glassdoor

The Center for Reproductive Rights Reviews

Updated Oct 11, 2019

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Found 42 reviews

2.1
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21%
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19%
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The Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup
Nancy Northup
30 Ratings
  1. Helpful (5)

    "Loved it. Challenging work, but incredible org with excellent opportunities."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I loved working at the Center for Reproductive Rights. I worked there for almost three years and grew immensely as a young professional and as a person. It's challenging work and not for everyone - there is always a lot going on, the issues are emotionally and mentally taxing, and the organization sets ambitious goals and has high standards. But if you're looking for a fast-paced work environment that will challenge... you and help you grow, this is an excellent fit. The staff are incredible. The nature of my role allowed me to work with individuals at various levels across the organization. Each person I worked with was smart, strategic, and dedicated to the mission. It wasn't perfect and some folks are of course more challenging to work with than others, but everyone is on the same team and is working for the same goals. Having that common understanding and commitment kept things in perspective, and kept folks energized and focused. I made some amazing friends and mentors through my work at CRR. I have been gone for almost a year now, and I'm still in regular contact with my former supervisor and colleagues. I found the professional development opportunities for young staff to be plentiful - if you seize them. There aren't formal networks or mentor/mentee relationships (that I know of), but working long hours with senior staff allowed me to create an organic network of mentors/advisers across the organization that I'll cherish throughout my career. When I was applying for grad school and taking entrance exams, every single individual I reached out to for informational interviews was more than happy to speak with me, even if I didn't work with them regularly. I am frequently in contact with my former supervisors regarding professional development questions, and they are always happy to help. I recognize the value of more formal professional development opportunities and would encourage CRR management to investigate potential ideas (and listen to junior staff suggestions), but I found the informal opportunities to be significantly more helpful, genuine, and have sustained since I've left. The work itself is awesome. It was clear to me that the strategic decisions made were carefully thought out and intentional. Everyone is brilliant - it's intimidating but so cool and valuable. I loved being part of an organization that made such a huge impact in the lives of individuals and families around the globe. As previously stated, CRR sets ambition goals - and meets them. They have high standards, and it pays off. Being part of that environment, especially as a junior staffer, allowed me to set a higher bar for myself and realize what excellence looked like in this field. Side note: the offices are gorgeous - especially the NYC headquarters. Plus there are regular all-staff lunches, happy hours, social events, etc. I also found the benefits and pay to be really great, particularly for comparable nonprofit organizations.

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    Cons

    The work environment is hard. Working on these issues and in an under-resourced non-profit environment means that folks won't always be their best selves. If you are a very sensitive individual or take things super personally, this might not be the best environment for you. I definitely left CRR with a stronger backbone than I had before (which I personally think was essential for my professional development, but... that's just me). I frequently had to work late hours. It was rare for me to leave by 5:30pm, and I also rarely took a real lunch break. Part of that was my role, but a huge part of that was the result of my personal work style and my personal choice to invest that much into my work. I wanted to stay late and be a fly on the wall while management/executives finished their days. I had the time, enthusiasm, and energy, and I wanted to put a ton of myself into my job to learn as much as possible (and it paid off). It's fine if that's not your goal or your style. But regardless, almost all CRR staff at some point or another will probably have to work late (I think). There were also some reoccurring organizational struggles around junior staff (vs management) and animosity against the Executive team. I personally did not entirely agree with all the merits of these concerns, but I could understand where they are coming from and sometimes agreed. There also is relatively high turnover, particularly with certain teams, and that has caused some instability. The organization has also grown rapidly over the past few years, exasperating this instability and causing some confusion around roles, hierarchy, strategy, etc. Regarding career opportunities, I would say it can be challenging to advance in the program departments if you are not a lawyer. But I think that's changing significantly as the Center's program areas expand and is not an unreasonable reality given that the bulk of CRR work is litigation and legal advocacy. For non-programmatic staff, career growth seems to be more clear in terms of how to work your way up into management positions. It is a nonprofit, though (i.e. limited budget --> limited roles), and folks love working here, so promotion opportunities are not available every year or even every few years. Do not expect to get a promotion after your first year (although that does sometimes happen).

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    Advice to Management

    Continue to increase transparency regarding how decisions are made, why, and when. Be clear (and consistent) regarding expectations, particularly with reoccurring projects. Express enthusiasm about forming one-on-one relationships with staff and be proactive in creating opportunities for a relationship to form (through assignments, check-ins, etc.), and use those relationships as a two-way street: ask junior staff... about their thoughts on programmatic ideas (when appropriate) and any concerns they may have with the work environment (especially before something bubbles up). Continue to create and model a culture of feedback. Consider adding more administrative support roles before adding more executive/management roles so that the org can grow in a sustainable manner. Understand and appreciate that the different teams across the organization will have their own micro-cultures (while continuing to emphasize the core values of the organization). Respect the expertise folks bring to their work. Do not assume that all non-management staff are "anti-management." ADVICE TO APPLICANTS: I loved working at CRR and would come back in a heartbeat. I have worked at other nonprofits in and outside the movement, and CRR has been my favorite by far. Do not let other Glassdoor reviews or rumors deter you from being excited about applying for a job here. Do not automatically buy in to "anti-management" sentiment. That being said, CRR is far from perfect and it's not for everyone. When you are interviewing, be sure to ask about the work environment for that particular team (and the org as a whole) to determine if its the right fit for you.

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    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-06-28
  2. Helpful (2)

    "Not Walking the Walk"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Would Prefer Not to Say 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time

    Pros

    Many of the people working at the Center were among the best I've ever met. They were kind, compassionate, enthusiastic, intelligent, and talented, and I remain close to many former colleagues. The views from the NYC office are great. I can also imagine it being a lot worse, and some employees seem to be able to make it work for them.

    Cons

    (Note that some of these impressions may not be true for offices other than NYC.) Senior management views employees as cogs in the wheel, not as people: they are valuable insofar as they are useful. Change and justice work is relentless, but you cannot expect to succeed if you continually use up and tear down your new recruits. The C-suite values the organization far more than the cause or the movement. The... executives also seem to think they ARE the organization and the rest of the staff is just there to support them; there's no sense of the organization working together, all being needed, all being valued. The executive team will deliberate on major changes for months in secret and then announce immense overhauls that were created without input from the rest of the organization. The lack of transparency causes programmatic and staffing changes to seem incredibly, unfeelingly arbitrary. As a result, confusion and resentment simmer, and completed work would be impossible without a few highly dependable employees who manage to wrangle things together. Management asks employees to be direct and forthcoming with concerns, but the same courtesy is not afforded in the other direction. Staff are fearful of providing criticism, as it is seen as unwelcome and meriting punishment. Individual managers and teams within the organization can be incredibly supportive, but if you are not protected and insulated by one of those, it's a draining place. Official organization positions, posts, or statements to donors/the board frequently contained outdated language or notions about gender, sexuality, race, and diversity. Employees regularly joke about crying in the bathroom, but it's not a joke. Impostor syndrome seems to be encouraged, as junior staff frequently lose a sense of their own worth and are not given the basic training or mentorship to help them find their footing. It would be in the interest of the organization and the movement to train, support, educate, and empower young people, but they are seen as disposable. Assistants are not given the information or authority needed to do much of their work, but they are liable for the reactions and outcomes of things well above their paygrades. Positions are poorly defined and differ wildly, with some employees perpetually overworked and others regularly without enough work. Summer interns are given engaging work while full employees are left handling printing and scheduling. Basic systems and processes are missing and the organization frequently scrambles to avoid non-compliance. The Center was without an employee handbook for nearly five years. When employees or departments are underperforming, there do not seem to be effective management procedures for addressing that. Management is far too concerned with stamping out dissatisfaction to address poor performance (among its employees and among its own esteemed ranks). Mental health, self care, and work life balance are given lip service but are quickly plowed under in favor of swearing unwavering fealty to an erratic leadership. Office behavior such as volume of conversations and where staff eat their lunch is made a top priority. This feels like a slap in the face and a severe misdirect when many employees feel unsafe or unwelcome.

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    Advice to Management

    Your actions need to match your words. You cannot call yourselves a human rights organization if your employees are not treated like valued humans. You cannot criticize your employees for undermining transparency when you operate in nefarious secret. You cannot rail against internal issues when you promote them. Self-aggrandizement does not serve the cause, the movement, the organization, or the betterment of the... world. So many hopeful, passionate, caring people want to do this work and are beaten down by the environment you are creating. Do better.

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    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-10-11
  3. Helpful (3)

    "This Place is a Nightmare"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Benefits are pretty good.

    Cons

    This place is incredibly toxic. There is basically every toxic thing you thing of: verbal abuse against race, class, ability, body size, sexual harassment via quid pro quo dealings of older senior management with younger female staff. Ineffective HR who will just threaten to fire and replace you if you come to them with any issues. The turnover is insane, literally every position besides the best paid turn over once... a year or so. You will work 12 hour days and be mistreated for using PTO. They would like you to believe this place is "underresourced" but it's one of the wealthiest repro orgs in the world, with C-suite staff making hundreds of thousands each while the junior staff has second jobs or trust funds. It won't be a surprise that most of the junior staff comes from money, because you can't live in NYC on what they pay you. Being abused is some sort of badge of honor until you crack and then they'll discard you. Do not take a job here, and if you do, don't expect to do it for more than a few years for your physical and mental well-being.

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    Advice to Management

    Resign.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-09-10
  4. Helpful (19)

    "Take These Negative Reviews Seriously"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The work is very important.

    Cons

    I cannot stress enough how seriously you should take these negative reviews. There really is only one word to describe the culture at the Center: abusive. Worst work-life balance I’ve ever experienced. I feel so overworked and basically have no life outside of work. Assignments are pushed on you without so much as asking if you have capacity to take them on. And if you try to set up any semblance of boundaries,... you are flat-out told that you are making others’ jobs harder by adding to their plates. But in the same breath, you’ll be chastised for not being better at managing your time. It’s an extremely cut-throat and hierarchical environment. You’ll constantly be minimized in order to make those above you feel more important. You won’t be externally or individually recognized. I don’t feel like those above me want me to succeed, but instead are looking for ways to cut me down. There’s no chance for growth or opportunities given. Your assignments will consist of tasks those above you don’t want to have to deal with. Your value is what work they can get out of you. And if you’re more junior, you will be excluded from/deprioritized for/the first one cut from conferences, interactions with clients, and other external-facing activities, including ones directly related to your job responsibilities. I feel like I’m taking steps backwards in my career. I don’t feel valued, either as an employee or just as a human being. There’s overt fat-shaming and ableism, to the point of violating employment laws. Every few weeks, something happens that makes me break down in tears. I just feel like an incredibly worn-down cog in a machine. I used to feel passionate about the issues we work on, but that’s getting drowned out by all of the above. I’ve been afraid to post this review out of fear of retaliation. Please read these negative reviews and take them seriously. This isn’t a case of a few disgruntled employees. These are deep, structural problems.

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    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-04-21
  5. Helpful (11)

    "Don't rock the boat while it's sinking, just jump ship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Center for Reproductive Rights for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The Center's true mission is why most employees work here. Their legal successes are critical to maintaining access to abortion care for millions of women. Other benefits: Comraderie with peers: you will work alongside some intelligent, funny and warm souls. Health insurance and other benefits are solid. The Center finally canceled their "clawback policy" for marernal/paternal paid leave so employees who... return from leave don't have to repay the benefit if they leave within a year.

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    Cons

    There is little more that can be said about this organization’s “leadership”. The executive management is as bad as it sounds... perhaps even worse. Although governed by women (as one should hopefully expect in a leading reproductive rights organization) the C-suite women here embody the worst toxic masculinity traits. Other reviewers have mentioned the gaslighting and abuse, and I have seen it too. Outside... consultants are frequently hired because senior management seemingly doesn't trust their own teams. The department heads are not communicative with the junior staff. Some positions are filled by direct appointments rather than utilize any fair and transparent hiring process. Throughout the org the "junior" staff are infantilized and intimidated. Middle management are kept in their place: if they don't step in line, they are pushed out. There is a chain of command not to be challenged. Allegiance is expected of all employees. Embarrassingly, celebrity alliances are more important than professional development of staff. Turnover is so frequent in some departments it's impossible for HR to keep up. Positions that have been vacant for months and months will never even get posted. Work is heaped upon remaining employees, who receive no recognition or compensation in return. As others have stated a primary operating goal is to feed the CEO's ego. Staffers write the op-eds published under her byline, without any credit. Expensive makeup artists and hair stylists are hired to primp her for public appearances. The brilliant legal team that won the Center's SCOTUS case in 2016 was pushed out presumably because they were getting more attention than the CEO. (They went solo and some CRR clients went with them, which speaks volumes.)

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    Advice to Management

    Evaluate your own priorities.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-04-14
  6. Helpful (13)

    "Horrific"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time

    Pros

    Great junior staff peers, wonderful mission, pretty office, and decent benefits, and management will helpfully make it very easy for you to choose to leave all those things behind.

    Cons

    I have worked in a lot of toxic environments. I have NEVER worked at an environment as toxic as that at CRR. It's hard to know where to start--incompetence and abusive/unethical behavior are rewarded and promoted by upper management; junior staff are mistreated, underpaid, insanely undervalued, condescended to, and belittled; every single staff member is overworked; it is close to impossible to achieve any career... development within the organization (and absolutely impossible without first doing the job you want for no increase in pay or recognition for at least a year or more); any attempt to voice concerns is met with gaslighting, hostility, and further condescension and mistreatment from management. (And to top it all off, a laughable amount of money, effort, and time is spent on stroking the CEO/President's ego and building her up as a celebrity mover-and-shaker at the expense of the rest of CRR's employees and at the expense of more effectively carrying out CRR's mission.) I cannot state strongly enough how much I urge potential employees to stay away from this organization. They will take you for whatever they can get, they will use you and beat you down until you are a shell of your former self (by the time I left, I was sobbing daily in the bathroom and on my way home from work), and when you leave, they will not give you, their policies, or their culture a second thought. The reviewer who mentioned feeling like the stump at the end of The Giving Tree is completely on point. This is a toxic, badly-run workplace.

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    Advice to Management

    Start by taking your junior employees seriously. Work on your values and priorities. Stop brushing under the rug (at best) and rewarding (at worst) appalling behavior by managers. Stop counting on your mission to make well-meaning, dedicated employees stay with your company despite the poisonous, hostile organizational culture.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-02-25
  7. Helpful (13)

    "Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The mission is incredible. Benefits are decent

    Cons

    I have never worked in a more toxic or uncommunicative atmosphere. I really thought I’d seen some toxic workplaces, but until my time at the center I can say I truly hadn’t. As a member of the junior staff; the mentality towards my peers and I, was essentially, that we were there to bear the brunt of the discarded admin work that managers didn’t have time to do, or as was more common, simply didn’t want to do... and couldn’t be bothered . That meant a constant burden of a workload so overwhelming that I started some days crying in the office bathroom- simply because i just had no way of getting through all that was assigned to me. What was worse is that because junior staff are more or less invisible- when I did try to speak up about easing the burden of my workload or make suggestions about how to improve the situation- I was quickly shot down by managers and told more or less to “shape up and shut up or we will find someone who will.” I never felt more invisible in my life than I did In My time at the center. There is no career development at the center-no one cares what your strengths are, no one wants to see you succeed, and there is zero value around the concept of teamwork. Positive feedback is a rarity but constant complaints from your colleagues to your manager behind your back or surprise criticisms during your performance reviews are the norm. Prepare to be thrown under the bus nearly every day. Everyone is so miserable, and it shows. The best period in my time working at CRR Were my final weeks after giving notice, this was pretty much because I had literally no energy left to give. If you ever want to feel like the tree stump at the end Of shel silverstein’s “the giving tree” then I suggest working at repro rights. Lastly, I’ve been passionate about repro rights and active in pro choice causes for as long as I can remember but after this experience my passion for the cause is almost extinguished. I will volunteer still from time to time but if this is the norm at supposedly progressive organizations then count me out.

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    Advice to Management

    The board needs to get rid of most of the senior Staff and start over. Seriously you have a sick sick workplace on your hands, and while the new HR team has some great ideas they will be virtually powerless in implementing them unless the old guard finally goes. My plea to anyone reading this who has any authority is this; PLEASE Do something-act now-plenty of people will thank you.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2018-11-30
  8. Helpful (16)

    "Insanity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You're working within a movement that is vital and meaningful to so many women. Colleagues are there to commiserate with about all of the crazy internal issues. The Center has recently taken steps to improve pay equity among attorneys and junior staff.

    Cons

    The work culture is toxic and full of bias against non-straight white women. Get ready for microaggressions and the expectation that you'll represent your ethnicity and/or sexual orientation in external spaces to make the Center look more diverse. You will also be busy putting out small fires all the time, and jumping from project to project and meeting to meeting, all while wondering what you're actually... accomplishing as you leave the fires smoldering. If you are creative or have innovative ideas for policies, campaigns or a new area of litigation, stay away because management is stuck in its ways. Tremendous talent has walked away and thrived at other repro organizations because the Center didn't want to innovate, including the litigation team that won the Center's most recent SCOTUS case. There is limited opportunity for professional development. The hiring and promotion levels for attorneys is extremely haphazard. Attorneys with less legal experience are in senior positions seemingly based on their age (or lack of better qualified candidates?). There's also a "last woman standing" promotion dynamic where if the Center can't fill a position someone unqualified just gets to lead.

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    Advice to Management

    Listen to the new Chief of HR and actually implement his suggestions or leave the organization. Invest in professional development for your employees and stop marginalizing employees without law degrees. If you expect junior staff to only stay 1 year, then they will. Stop gaslighting employees, it's terrible for their mental health.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2018-11-02
  9. Helpful (13)

    "A shame"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time

    Pros

    Generous benefits package, especially the medical plan. Beautiful office. Inspiring mission and work.

    Cons

    The Center's programming/legal staff has grown considerably in just a few years, but the operations team has not been scaled up accordingly. Employees in those functions are overworked and bogged down by onerous, outdated systems that also frustrate programming staff. New leadership was brought in to improve the situation, but has only managed to demoralize the operations side by showing zero respect for... institutional knowledge. It's true that the Center needs to discard many old ways of doing things, but leaders should use change-management strategy to accomplish that, not a cavalier attitude. At the same time, the organization is composed of passionate human rights advocates who are doing incredible work, but many of them also insist on an inclusive/democratic style of decision making. As a result, efforts to institute new policies or update existing ones are agonizingly protracted. Leadership must find a way to (respectfully!) change this aspect of the culture. Otherwise the place will just be spinning its wheels for all eternity. Compensation is not externally competitive, nor internally equitable. At the end of the day, the current political environment has obviously put the Center in an incredibly tough spot, with staff constantly battling new attacks and threats from the administration and pro-life movement. This unfortunately leaves very little time and few resources to nurture the culture of the organization.

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    Advice to Management

    As a workplace, the Center is starting to feel like a lost cause. Any advice seems pointless now, as many talented staff have already left, with more assuredly to go soon. It's an incredible shame, as the Center's mission and work are sorely needed.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2018-09-21
  10. Helpful (10)

    "Sinking ship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    In theory, the work is inspiring.

    Cons

    The vision of the organization is stale and uninspiring. The expansion of work in new areas and regions has been poorly implemented. The demands are high and the appreciation lacking. There is basically no professional development provided to employees, especially junior staff. You have to hope that the Center's good name will serve you well in your future job searches. The organization is extremely hierarchal and... the hierarchy benefits only those at the top. There is little to no room for growth. The work product is sometimes of dubious quality. The leadership team is entirely unapproachable and actively ignore junior staff in common areas. The work environment is toxic. The turnover at this company is incredible, though not surprising. Over the past several months, staff received regular emails telling us that seasoned attorney, management level employees and other staff members were leaving or had left the Center. Some of these emails were super vague, saying that so-and-so "was no longer with us." The implication from these emails was always that the person had been fired. No explanation was ever provided. Other times the emails would explain that so-and-so had put in their notice without a new job lined up. The turnover dates far before 2018. Take it as a sign.

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    Advice to Management

    Resign. Allow others to bring in the fresh air this firm so desperately needs.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2018-10-17
Found 42 reviews