They’re coming for you next: Despite accommodating nurse practitioner Robyn Strader’s religious beliefs for more than six years, CVS fired her on October 31, 2021 after suddenly deciding that the Christian religion was no longer valid and no employees could cite it when it came time to prescribe drugs.
Robyn worked at a CVS MinuteClinic in Keller, Texas since 2015. Robyn sought a religious accommodation because prescribing any medications that could intentionally end the development or life of an unborn child would force her to violate her beliefs. For six-and-a-half years, the company accommodated her without a problem. When someone requested such a medication, usually only a few times per year, Robyn referred them to another practitioner at her location or to another MinuteClinic located just a couple miles away.
But CVS reversed course, joining the ranks of the “woke” corporations rendering religious employees second class citizens. In 2021, the company stated it would no longer honor religious accommodations related to such medications. Soon after this policy was put in place, CVS terminated Robyn.
Strader is now suing, with the non-profit legal firm First Liberty representing here. You can read her lawsuit here [pdf].
The complaint demands Strader’s full restitution, including back pay and punitive damages, noting that such a policy not only violates federal civil rights law, it also violates several Texas laws, including one that protects employees from religious discrimination and a second that exempts medical personnel from participating in abortion or abortion-related procedures if his or her religion forbids it.
The suit’s demand for punitive damages is based on what it calls — and clearly documents — CVS’s “intentional” behavior, “acted with malice, oppression, or reckless indifference.” Not only had CVS been able to easily accommodate Strader for six and a half years, when it suddenly decided to change policies, it did so based on no legal premise, refused to negotiate in any way with Strader, and then attempted to pressure her to violate her religion. From the complaint:
CVS never engaged with Ms. Strader about how it could continue to accommodate her religious beliefs against prescribing contraceptive and abortifacient drugs.
Rather, starting on or around August 28, 2021, Ms. Young [her supervisor] called or visited Ms. Strader at work on a near-weekly basis to ask whether Ms. Strader was going to change, abandon, or violate her religious views and prescribe hormonal contraceptives. Sometimes Ms. Young even called Ms. Strader on Ms. Strader’s days off to ask whether Ms. Strader was going to change, abandon, or violate her religious views and prescribe hormonal contraceptives.
During these conversations, Ms. Young often sounded anxious and asked Ms. Strader a series of questions, but typically without giving Ms. Strader an opportunity to answer. It was evident that Ms. Young was under pressure from her managers to get Ms. Strader to quit or abandon her religious accommodation. Ms. Young was also trying to make Ms. Strader feel ashamed about her religious beliefs.
The press release at the first link above notes that First Liberty is presently defending seven other people — all but one have already been subjects of this blacklist column — who have been fired because they would not agree to their employer’s demand that they accept the left’s political or woke agendas. These cases, as well as all the stories from my blacklist column, illustrate starkly the intolerance that now permeates American society. It is now considered reasonable to demand that everyone obey only one political position — the left’s — and if anyone refuses, it is also considered reasonable to fire them for doing so.
For our culture to heal itself and become more tolerant again, not only do all these lawsuits have to be victories, resulting in significant payments to the victims, the individuals who actually instituted these oppressive policies have to somehow come to the realization that they have been acting like Nazi thugs. Until that happens, creating an actual cultural change, no number of victorious lawsuits will change anything.