Walgreens Accused of Religious Discrimination
By George Anderson
A group founded by the conservative Christian preacher Pat Robertson has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging that Walgreens engaged in
religious discrimination by “effectively firing” three pharmacists who refused to fill prescriptions for the so-called morning after pill.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) said the three pharmacists who were place on unpaid leave by the drugstore chain “believe that human life begins at conception,
they conclude that dispensing such drugs would require them to participate in the moral equivalent of abortion.”
A state law in Illinois requires pharmacists to sell all contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Tiffani Bruce, a spokesperson for Walgreens, said the chain was simply following the law in Illinois and “anyone who takes issue with this law needs to address it with the state
or the governor.”
Frank Manion, a senior counsel for the ACLJ, said, Walgreens’ decision “does not bode well for other pharmacists across the country who don’t want to be compelled to participate
in something that doesn’t fall within their religious beliefs,’ adding, “It’s important that a stand be taken here.”
Walgreens has offered to place the pharmacists in positions in Missouri, which does not have a similar requirement about filling emergency-contraception prescriptions.
John Menges, one of the pharmacists in the case, said he did not accept the offer because he is not licensed in Missouri and Walgreens would pay him less until he gained his
Moderator’s Comment: Is the influence and interest that religious groups have in the ways retailers conduct their business a positive or negative trend,
as you see it? –
George Anderson – Moderator