A Christian contraceptive nurse practitioner has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that CVS discriminated by not granting her a religious exemption from dispensing contraception and terminating her for refusing to do so.
In response, the national drug store chain defended its policy to require nurses to perform “essential functions” of the job.
The First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty legal nonprofit, wrote a letter to on behalf of nurse Robyn Strader. The document stated that Strader worked as a nurse practitioner at a CVS Pharmacy MinuteClinic in Keller, Texas, for 6.5 years until she was fired for refusing to prescribe contraception because doing so conflicted with her religious beliefs.
“Before her first day on the job, Ms. Strader asked for a religious accommodation not to prescribe contraception, and upon hiring her, CVS agreed to accommodate her religious beliefs,” First Liberty Counsel Christine Pratt wrote in the letter.
For the next 6.5 years, CVS accommodated Ms. Strader with no issues. On the rare occasions someone requested contraception, Ms. Strader referred them to the other nurse practitioner at her location or to another CVS MinuteClinic two miles away.”
Strader’s work experience changed dramatically. That is the day “CVS announced that all nurses must perform essential services related to pregnancy prevention,” including contraception.
Shortly after that, Strader’s manager informed her that “CVS would no longer honour religious accommodations regarding pregnancy prevention services and that Ms. Strader had no religious accommodation on file with CVS.”
“On September 23, 2021, Ms. Strader’s manager said that, if Ms. Strader did not change her beliefs about contraception, CVS would fire her. “Ms. Strader’s manager repeatedly pressured Ms. Strader to change her beliefs. CVS failed to timely respond to the three letters Ms. Strader wrote requesting a religious accommodation, until it terminated her.”
After firing Strader, Pratt said that CVS claimed that “she never requested a religious accommodation and that accommodating her would cause CVS an undue hardship.”
The lawyer argues that CVS violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on religion.
“CVS discriminated against Ms. Strader on the basis of religion when it prospectively preempted all requests for religious accommodations related to contraception prescription, derided her religious beliefs and pressured her to abandon them, discontinued a six-year religious accommodation without cause, refused to consider her request for an ongoing religious accommodation, failed to engage with her about possible accommodations, and terminated her because of her religious beliefs,” the letter states.
Title VII declares that “it shall be an unlawful practice for an employer … to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin.”
In a statement, Pratt cited Strader as an example of “corporate canceling of faithful religious Americans,” which she demanded “must end.”
“CVS accommodated Robyn for more than six years without any problems,” Pratt said. “It’s bad medicine to force religious health care professionals to choose between their faith and their job, especially at a time when we need as many health care professionals as we can get.”
In recent weeks, other major corporations have reached settlements with religious employees after their refusals to accommodate their deeply held beliefs led to lawsuits. Last month, an Amazon delivery service provider paid $50,000 to a former Christian employee fired for refusing to work Sundays.
However CVS has maintained that no nurse is allowed to go outside the medical ethics while discharging his/her duties either for religious beliefs or something else.
In this 21st century, should we still be having this kind of matter arising again?…… Can’t a Christian perform his/her duties while sticking to their religious beliefs. All these have been the questions Christians all over the world are asking rhetorically.
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