A pharmacist who was fired for refusing to sell Plan B contraception is suing Walgreens for wrongful dismissal from his job in Jamestown, Tennessee. He’s represented by the Thomas More Society (not to be confused with the Thomas More Law Center). Their press release:
Yesterday, the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, together with Nashville area Tennessee attorney Larry Crain, of Crain, Schuette & Associates, filed a federal lawsuit in the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of Pharmacist Dr. Philip Hall against the Walgreen Company. The complaint alleges that, in August 2013, Walgreens wrongfully fired Hall, who had been employed for six years as a pharmacist at Walgreens’ store in Jamestown, Tennessee, in violation of his constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to freedom of religion.
Hall, a practicing Baptist, entertains profound religious and moral objections to dispensing abortifacients, or abortion-inducing drugs, such as Plan B. For six years, Walgreens respected Hall’s religious beliefs and gave him only favorable reviews for his work performance. But in August 2013, Walgreens did an “about-face” and tried to force Hall to dispense Plan B in violation of his beliefs. When Hall indicated his intent to continue following the internal procedures that accommodated his beliefs, Walgreens fired him.
“Dr. Hall’s right to live according to his religious beliefs, including in his workplace, is protected both under the Federal Civil Rights Act and the Tennessee State Constitution,” said Larry Crain, co-counsel with Thomas More Society. “Americans have the right to live according to their sincerely held religious beliefs and not be forced to participate in actions that they deeply and sincerely believe are morally wrong.”
From the time of his hiring in March 2007, Hall followed Walgreens’ well-known protocol allowing him to ask another pharmacist to dispense prescription drugs such as Plan B. After the implementation of new FDA protocols in August 2013, requiring that Plan B be sold over-the-counter, Hall reiterated to his superiors his religious objections to selling the drug and followed up with a call to the employee relations department at Walgreens’ corporate headquarters to express his concerns.
One month later, Hall was questioned by his superiors about how he would treat a request for the drug. As he had been informed of no change in store policy due to the change in FDA regulations, he verbally went through the standard protocol which he had followed for the past six years. But then he was fired on the spot.
“It is illegal for Walgreens to attempt to force employees like Dr. Hall to dispense certain drugs in violation of their religious and moral beliefs,” stated Jocelyn Floyd, attorney with the Thomas More Society, “especially after six years of settled store practices showed that Walgreens could reasonably accommodate Dr. Hall’s religious beliefs with no difficulties.”
All nonsense. Could a restaurant not fire a cook or a server for refusing to cook or serve pork or beef because of their religious beliefs? And to show you just how crazed this guy is, not only did he refuse to sell the product, he personally bought up the entire first batch the store had in stock and disposed of them so no one else could buy them. I’d say that’s more than enough cause to fire him. If your religion prevents you from doing the job, find another job.
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