Pharmacist Discrimination: Common Lawsuits in the Pharmacy Profession

Female pharmacist reaching for medication

Pharmacist Discrimination: Common Lawsuits in the Pharmacy Profession

The profession of pharmacy fills open positions with more diverse applicants than any other industry. As a fast-growing industry with a six-figure salary for most, the gender pay gap is considered one of the smallest. Since 2011, women hold more than 50% of the full-time positions in pharmacy. For the most part, researchers suspect that the pay gap is generated by the fact that men are more likely to work longer hours than women.

Over the years, family-owned pharmacies were replaced by chain pharmacies that required larger staffs. This provided more jobs to minorities in the profession. However, pharmacists still face a good deal of discrimination from their management for legally protected characteristics such as age, disability, race, pregnancy, and gender.

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Recognize Discrimination in Pharmacy

In today’s work environment, employers and employees are becoming more aware of discrimination, recognizing and resolving the ongoing problems. Some employees receive special protections from the law if they belong in the category of protected classes. However, the law protects the rights of all employees.

1. Pay Attention

When you notice an injustice or irregularity between how your employer treats you and how he or she treats another employee, take note. In some cases, it might be best to actually write down the information with as much detail as possible.

2. Report the Problem

If the irregularity of treatment continues, check your employee handbook for how to report the problem, seeking to resolve it within the employer’s system. Be sure to have the report in writing for your own personal files.

3. Consider Legal Solutions

When an employer does nothing to resolve the ongoing issue, reach out to an employment lawyer for possible legal options. An employment lawyer knows whether or not your situation would benefit from filing a lawsuit.

Common Types of Pharmacy Lawsuits

Pharmacists deal with a lot of different types of discrimination, especially since this job role usually is open to a diverse group of people. Male pharmacists and female pharmacists have faced employment discrimination for age, race, gender, and disability. A couple of examples of the types of lawsuits that have occurred in the past can provide a useful tool in understanding current work circumstances.

Older Pharmacist Sues CVS for Age Discrimination

Roger took a vacation to celebrate his 65th birthday at the beach, and when he came home, he discovered that CVS had fired him and replaced him with a 27-year-old pharmacist. Although CVS claimed that he was fired for work performance issues, Roger shared how his district supervisor called him “old man” and then the nickname caught on among his coworkers. The jury agreed with Roger and awarded him $400,000 in back pay and $400,000 in damages. (Harris v. CVS, 2013)

The EEOC Files Lawsuit Against Walgreens for Racial Discrimination

When the EEOC received an excessive amount of complaints of racial discrimination against Walgreens, the EEOC investigated and discovered that Walgreens had a reoccurring pattern of discriminating against black employees. Black employees were often assigned to low-performing stores and stores only in African American communities. Furthermore, the EEOC suspected that Walgreens denied promotions to eligible employees due to race. This lawsuit was settled with Walgreens paying 24 million to effected employees. (EEOC v. Walgreens, 2007)

Pharmacy Solutions Settles Lawsuit Filed by Pregnant Pharmacists

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against Pharmacy Solutions for pregnancy discrimination. Two previous employees of Pharmacy Solutions were fired within weeks of each other after suffering disparaging comments about being pregnant. The Pharmacy Solutions owner made the comments when the women requested schedule changes so they could visit their doctors. The case has settled for $85,000. (EEOC v. Pharmacy Solutions, 2014)

Female Pharmacist Awarded $31 Million from Wal-Mart for Gender Discrimination

Maureen filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart when she was fired for losing her pharmacy key. However, she suspects the problem began earlier when she reported safety concerns about how coworkers dispensed prescriptions. The jury decided that Wal-Mart not only participated in gender discrimination but also retaliation for Maureen’s safety concerns. (McPadden v. Wal-Mart, 2015)

Disabled Pharmacist Files Lawsuit Against CVS For Disability Discrimination

Juanita, a long-time pharmacist at CVS, worked her way into the position of pharmacist in charge. When Juanita became disabled, she spoke with her supervisor and requested accommodations. Immediately, her supervisor’s behavior toward her changed as he began to harass her. A series of complaints and an employee review resulted in Juanita’s termination, but she suspects that the negative employment action stemmed from her disability. (Gilbert v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., 2011)


If you are a pharmacist and have experienced employment discrimination based on your protected class, contact an employment attorney now to hear your legal options.

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