Retail pharmacy chain giant, Walgreens, or WAGS as known in the industry by its stock ticker symbol, has forgotten some important lessons it learned the hard way in the past 10 years.
Going back to its home state of IL, WAGS was key in cooperating with then Guv Ron “Slobodan” Blagojevich, the Serbian assassin of pharmacists with a conscience, as he persecuted pharmacists in IL who had a conscience and resisted the illegal diktat of Blagojevich to dispense any and all abortifacient drug prescriptions, regardless of clinical objections or professional judgment, including sincerely held religious, moral or ethical objections to do so.
Now Slobodan sits in jail as a convict and his diktat was overturned several times despite appeals by his then-AG Lisa Madigan, daughter of an equally famous abortoholic politician father Michael.
WAGS has now been sued for illegally firing a TN pharmacist, Phillip Hall, for his religious objections to filling Rxs for abortifacient drugs and devices. And this is after 6 years of respecting his rights of conscience and giving him the highest praises and marks on his annual reviews.
From the time of his hiring in March 2007, Hall followed Walgreens’ well-known protocol allowing him to ask another pharmacist to dispense prescription known abortifacient 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.
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.”
Hall says he has chosen to file the complaint not only to repair and redress the losses that he has suffered but also in order to prevent similarly situated pharmacists from being forced to choose between honoring their consciences and keeping their jobs.
Write: Walgreen Co.
200 Wilmot Road
Deerfield, IL 60015