A pharmacist at CVS Pharmacy has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company claiming she experienced harassment and retaliation after she requested an accommodation for her disability. In Juanita Gilbert v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., Gilbert seeks compensation for her pain and suffering, lost wages, punitive and statutory damages, and all related attorney and court costs.
Gilbert was a pharmacist at CVS since 1999. She worked her way up to the position of pharmacist in-charge. In August of 2009 she told her district pharmacy supervisor that she had a disability and requested accommodations. After that, Gilbert asserts her supervisor began to harass and retaliate against her. Gilbert claims that in March 2010, the supervisor told her that she had three complaints against her. By the time her employee review came around in August 2010, she received an unfavorable review. She was written up due to the complaints and her pay raise was affected. On January 3, 2011, she was discharged from her job.
Gilbert alleges that because of her request for a disability accommodation, she was treated differently. Such retaliation would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act as it is illegal to retaliate or terminate an employee based on their disability. A disability generally also cannot be made the basis for discharging, demoting, or changing other terms and conditions of a person’s job. Persons with a history of disability, new concerns stemming from a disability, or limitations from an existing disability cannot be treated badly because of their condition.
Employers are usually required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to employees or job applicants unless it would create undue hardship to the employer. They cannot discriminate based on a disabled person being unable to carry out functions that are not essential to the job. Reasonable accommodations may include helping an employee perform his or her job duties, access the benefits and privileges of the job, and even assist a disabled person to apply for a position in the company. Harassment is also illegal and includes situations where offensive remarks become so persistent or severe that it makes the work environment hostile or offensive.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice and the Texas Workforce Commission are all involved in disability matters. All employers, including local and state government, with 15 or more employees are required to follow the ADA. Individuals who believe they may have a disability discrimination claim are strongly advised to contact a knowledgeable Austin Employment Attorney prior to going to the EEOC or TWC. Employers who have concerns about applying the ADA or who have experienced a claim are encouraged to do the same.