Rules Apply to Everyone but Christians, Part 5: Walgreens Pharmacists

Posted: February 25, 2014 in abortion, legal / law, medicine, religion
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Based on searching through my archives, I’ve decided to start numbering yet another series on this blog, in this case, “Rules Apply to Everyone but Christians!” The rule in question this time is whether, if you’re hired to do a job, you shouldn’t have to do some parts of that job because it conflicts with your religious values. Um, yes? You were hired to do a job. If you don’t want to do all of that job, get a different one. Duh.

But apparently not “Duh” to the Thomas More Society (a religious “liberties” law firm), who has decided to file “a federal lawsuit in Tennessee on behalf of former Walgreens pharmacist Philip Hall, alleging Hall was unfairly fired because his faith would not permit him to sell the Plan B morning-after pill over the counter.” The WND post is by Michael Carl: “Walgreens: Leave Your Beliefs at the Door.”

I think that should be: “All Employers Say: Employees – Leave Your Beliefs at the Door.”

Here’s what the Thomas More Society says is the basis of its lawsuit:

Thomas More Society attorney Jocelyn Floyd is representing Hall in his federal lawsuit and she says that Hall’s constitutional rights have been violated.

Floyd says that the law recognizes an enormous list of reasons people can lodge religious objections, but she says there are limits. The law requires the employer make a “reasonable accommodation,” a process that begins with the employee.

“If someone has a religious objection, they have to go to their employer and say they can’t do something. In this case it’s selling the morning after pill for religious reasons. The employer is required to make what is called the reasonable accommodation.

“In this case, this would require the store to allow Dr. Hall the opportunity to have another cashier process the sale. That is a reasonable accommodation. Now that it is over the counter it can be any cashier,” Floyd said.

She also says that the over-the-counter status of Plan B makes it easier for the store to accommodate Hall’s beliefs.

“Before, when it was a prescription drug, the dispensing of the drug and the sale had to be done by another pharmacist. Now it can be any cashier and that means that finding another cashier doesn’t place an undue burden on the store.

“It might be a slight hassle and it can be a little annoying to have to find another cashier, but it is not an undue burden. If he believed his religious beliefs were such that he couldn’t even work in the store and that the company would have to stop selling the product altogether, that would be an undue burden,” Floyd said.

If they don’t settle out of court, I would expect Walgreens to win this one. To me, at least, this is simple: Your job as a pharmacist is to dispense medication. Even if it’s OTC and not prescription, that is the fundamental raison d’être for being a pharmacist. Just as an Orthodox Jew working at the meat counter should not expect to be allowed to refuse to serve any meat product that has pork in it, a pharmacist should not get away with not having to dispense various drugs they don’t agree with.

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