Will religion rule the corporate world?

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  1. wilderness profile image95
    wildernessposted 11 years ago

    Walgreens has been sued By Edwin Dewitt, pharmacist, over immunizations.

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/05/2 … -over.html

    It seems that Dewitt's religion considers any injectable substance, including medicines, to be "harmful" to the body and is forbidden.  When Walgreens began offering immunizations he protested that his religion wouldn't allow him to do that.  Walgreens countered by limiting his work hours to 10AM to 6PM, whereupon he quit and has sued the company for refusing to do his job.  Others have sued after being required to dispense "abortion pills".

    What now - will this man's righteous religious fervor be allowed to control what Walgreens can offer to its customers?  Is this reasonable, that one's religion be the controlling factor in what an employer can sell?  Or should have Walgreens simply have hired a second pharmacist to work during peak immunization hours to cover the work he wouldn't do, thereby paying the cost of his religious zeal?

    Just how far are we as a nation willing to go to accommodate the religious nuts in their desire to control everything around them?

    1. Dale Hyde profile image80
      Dale Hydeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Not disagreeing with your topic here, however I do disagree with the classification of "religious nuts" to encompass someone who may not agree with your perspectives of looking at this particular situation. Myself, I respect all person's convictions and beliefs.

      As for when and how to draw a line, as long as the Constitution and Bill of Rights is on the "books" so to speak, that will always be a contested issue that will have to be resolved through the judicial system.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Sorry, Dale, it takes a nut to declare that their personal religious convictions shall control what a store may sell, simply because they have been paid to work there.

        It's fine and good to respect convictions and beliefs, no matter how silly I might find them.  That respect ends, just as your right to swing your fist, at the tip of my nose.  In this case that tip is my store inventory, but it is increasingly being challenged as a "right" somehow in spite of the fact that it takes away someone else's right.

        The constitution and Bill of Rights have nothing to do with the issue - as far as I know that issue has never been raised.  Rather it is the individual states that are passing well-meaning laws that are promptly being abused.  We, as a nation, are bending over backward to help out when we can with individual religious beliefs, but it is never enough.  Now the religion is becoming the purchasing agent for Walgreens and will only buy (for resale) what it deems "good".

        What happened to the idea that if you won't do the work you won't get paid, either?  If you find the work objectionable, either don't apply or quit as appropriate.

        1. Dale Hyde profile image80
          Dale Hydeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I did respond above your last post that should cover most of this that is raised. The country was founded on the basis of "religious freedoms" so I think it would fall under that at the legal level and will go to that level in the higher courts.

          1. Paul Wingert profile image60
            Paul Wingertposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            This pharmacist, who should know better, has been fired for not doing his job. His job description includes immunizations and he was very aware of that when he took the job. If his BS beliefs are against providing immunizations, he shouldn't of took the job or quit.

    2. Cagsil profile image72
      Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Then he shouldn't be giving them out. Walgreens should have hired someone else to do the work.
      This is his right to do.
      Limiting his hours? I can understand doing it. And, he has no grounds for lawsuit.
      They shouldn't be required to do so. Someone else should be dispensing them to customers/patrons/consumers.
      By all accounts, the religious establishment should stay out of business and what products offered. To let them get involved in this would be a disaster to the Economy.
      Reducing his hours and hiring someone else to offset hours, probably would have saved the company money. His religion should never dictate what a business can or cannot sell/promote or offer to the community for services.
      I'm not willing to accommodate them any further than their rights afford them, just like everyone else.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        But, Cagsil, most small pharmacies have just one pharmacist on duty.  To have a different one dispense, for instance, abortion pills or give immunizations means hiring two people to do the job of one. 

        That pharmacy will either soon be out of business or not sell abortion pills.

        1. Cagsil profile image72
          Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          You're looking at it wrong. You're not looking at from a business perspective. Which means you're not looking at objectively.

          The business can reduce the hours of the tending employee to hire someone else part time to do the specific task. The flexibility of a business is a must, as you said it yourself, change will come and business must change.

          Small locations will only have a limited supply to begin with because it is a small business. So, there's no disadvantage in this scenario.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I disagree, and believe you are forgetting the special duties and requirements for a pharmacist.  I am trying to look at the question from a business perspective, a business owner that suddenly has an employee determining what the owner may or may not sell to customers that want a product.

            Given that a store has exactly one pharmacist on duty (common, I believe) for, say, 12 hours per day and that a pharmacist is the only person that can legally dispense drugs, what good will another non-pharmacist do?  Or if that second, part time, person is a pharmacist (and where will you find a part time pharmacist?) what will you do when a customer comes outside the part time hours?

            From the news story, it sounds like that is much what Walgreens did.  Limit their immunization hours to evenings (probably not a bad decision in any case) and require that a different pharmacist work those hours.  Whereupon they are sued for limiting Dewitts hours - he must have had lots of OT and they took it away to put someone on that would give immunizations.

            1. Cagsil profile image72
              Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              No he is not doing that. He is stipulating that it is against his religious beliefs to administer it to consumers.

              If a religion of a person can gain them the ability to no work on specific days, then you better believe that their religious freedoms(rights) will be maintained regardless of how small or big the business is.

              Most jobs are at-will employment including this position. I wasn't dismissing the duties of the job. I was saying that the company could find someone qualified to do the job and probably pay them less to do it than paying the religious individual at his daily rate, and still get the consumers what they needed.
              This was the only course of action the employee left them without violating his individual rights.

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                I think you missed the point.

                Mr Dewitt has declared that he will not administer immunizations.  Walgreens found a way around it by cutting his hours, whereupon he filed suit.  He wants a large sum of money and his job, with the full hours he used to work back.

                If given his job, he will not administer immunizations, and unless Walgreens wants to hire a second pharmacist (completely unneeded except for that minor task) to do so they cannot sell them during Dewitts hours of work.

                Now, I would think (without knowing for sure) that Walgreens could hire a RN to give this drug, but it will cost them the price of a pharmacist (that refuses to do the work) PLUS the cost of the nurse.  They are thus priced out of the market, solely from the results of religious zeal of Mr. Dewitt.  His religion has resulted in Walgreens not being able to sell the product without taking a huge loss that other companies aren't required to cover.  He has very effectively (if he wins the case) controlled what Walgreens can sell in their store.

                1. Cagsil profile image72
                  Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  I think I didn't miss it in my previous post.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                    Then I missed it.  That is, I missed that you didn't miss my point. smile

                    You seem to be saying that Walgreens can hire someone else to do the job he won't, while paying him to do it as well.  These small stores don't have the personnel to juggle people around; the pharmacy is a one pharmacist (at a time) operation.  Additional people to do the work Dewitt has refused to do means an additional labor cost of whatever the second person is paid, while saving zero as Dewitt must still be on the job to dispense the medications he will handle.

                    The net result: Walgreens won't take a loss on the product and thus won't sell it, consumers must leave and go elsewhere to make the purchase and Dewitt has thus controlled what Walgreens can sell and what the consumer can buy at that store.  That's unacceptable.

  2. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 11 years ago

    That is ludicrous. If you can't do the job you were hired to do, you should face being fired. Just like everyone else.

    I find it as offensive as Catholic organizations refusing (and not being required) to offer full medical benefits to their female employees.

    1. Dale Hyde profile image80
      Dale Hydeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      From what you shared, his job description "changed" with this new implementation by Walgreens, so therefore it would not be what his job description was when he hired on.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        True enough.  However, work any job long enough and the job conditions and requirements will change.  No job can remain static in todays competitive economy.  You either change with them or leave.

        1. Dale Hyde profile image80
          Dale Hydeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Overall, I am not agreeing or disagreeing, however I have represented myself in Federal Court on freedom of religious issues on two counts and have won. Not bragging, however, the courts do heavily weigh their decisions towards the religious freedoms issues. Again, not agreeing or disagreeing with the courts.

    2. LauraGSpeaks profile image88
      LauraGSpeaksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Then again the employees of Catholic employment know the medical benefits provided before they accept the job.  They always have the option of being employed elsewhere.

    3. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Although I disagree with the idea of requiring companies to give particular medical insurance to employees at all, if one is required to do so then all must do so.  At most I would allow places of worship to slide, but certainly not their business efforts that are competing with other business that have the requirement.

      Nevertheless, religious groups are very much up in arms about it. 

      Same thing - they objected, we (the nation as a group) exempted places of worship.  That isn't good enough, though, and they want to compete in the business world without having to actually compete on a level playing field.

  3. jacharless profile image77
    jacharlessposted 11 years ago

    I am with Cagsil on this one.
    Accordingly, this fellows right of religious preference cannot be dictated by the business and likewise the business practices cannot be dictated for the sake of religious preference.

    Examples include: no labor after Sunset Friday; handling of food stuffs: Halal, Kosher; injection or ingestion of antibiotics, synthetic chemicals, etc.

    The employee is not necessarily telling the owner what he/she can/cannot sell, they are simple stating they, themselves, cannot administer these products. And no employer can force an employee to sell/offer products of an inferior nature.

    On the sidebar, regarding pharmaceuticals, so many drugs are in-market today, at a massively fast pace, that I do not believe the FDA is properly screening them. Recalls, Side Effects, Genetic modifications -and lawsuits up the wazooh.

    I think pharmacists have a very difficult job balancing between pill-pushing and actual remedies/cures for ailments. Ailments that appear to be increasing rather than decreasing. The average American has a pharma investment of nearly 12,000 a year, mostly for older persons. Yeats & Keating!

    So, respectfully, any pharmacist, regardless of religion, should have the right to refuse distribution of a substance they feel is unhealthy, adverse to the treatment of an ailment or effect of a substance(s) on an individual. Pharmacists know chemistry better than any doctor. If company policy forbids such an action, then ethically, the business needs review; financially, they can easily fill the slot with another pharmacists without a conscious issue and not have to terminate the employee.

    In conclusion, if religion was really ruling the US corporate world, half the country would be out of a job/out of business -especially the mid-west & southern states.


    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You lost me in the logic mine field.  I read that:

      Religion takes priority and that business takes priority.  Yet the two are incompatible in this case and one must truly prevail with the other losing out.

      Any pharmacist should have the right to refuse to dispense substances they don't like, and if the company disagrees with their assessment the company is ethically in the wrong.  In addition, the company can fill the slot of the pharmacist without terminating them - by paying them to sit at home while someone else does the work?

      Pharmacists are pill pushers - no, doctors are pill pushers.  The pharmacist does not recommend any pill and cannot dispense any drug not prescribed by a doctor.  They can only count them out, collect the money and advise the patient on how to take them.  A good pharmacist will also discuss side effects with the patient and often know that information better than the doctor.  They fill a very valuable niche in our world (at least until they decide they don't want to do it) of medical care.

      Any pharmacist can ethically refuse to dispense any drug by simply quitting the work.  To ethically receive their paycheck, however, they must give out the drug that the doctor has prescribed and that company sells.  To do otherwise is to make the statement that their religion or ethical stance is better and more important than the patient, the doctor, the company they work for, the pharmaceutical company, and the FDA; basically better and more important than everyone else in the world.

      1. Cagsil profile image72
        Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        And based on individual rights, I'm willing to bet that the Supreme Court will side on religion's side in this case.

        However, I am not implying that his lawsuit will have grounds, because it doesn't. He quit his job because they cut his hours.

        His hours were cut because he wouldn't perform his duties of his position to the fullest of his ability, regardless of belief. The company isn't legally at fault for the man quitting his job. He could have taken the cut in hours for the short period of time that shots were being done. No, they do not send him home on paid leave while having it done. That would be absurd.

        He refused to do the administering based on his religious beliefs. This is where it gets difficult because both are weighed equally. The Laws have to apply equally otherwise what is the sense.

        He does have an ethical standard to apply, which is drafted by Laws governing drugs of any sort. He applies the law and his experience(knowledge) of the drugs. As you said, he discusses them with patients because he is more knowledgeable in that area.

        I don't mind him stating that because of his religious beliefs that he cannot administer the drug. It's his individual right to do so. But, he has to realize that with that choice, there will be consequences. Right now, it seems as though he is using his religious beliefs to avert consequences.

        I hope that helped.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          As usual, Cags, we seem to think similarly but come to our conclusions and express them from a different direction.

          I would add that a pharmacist is often more knowledgeable than a doctor about a drug, but  Dewitt isn't claiming to use that knowledge.  Just his religion, and if he tried to claim superior knowledge from his God that immunization is wrong he will be laughed out of court. 

          And yes, Dewitt is absolutely trying to use his religion to avoid the consequences of his actions.  This is like a 7th day adventist refusing to work on Saturday because it is the day of rest while demanding that a business open only on Saturday provide him with a salary.

      2. jacharless profile image77
        jacharlessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        You know, the irony of your statement is true.
        Doctors prescribe the drugs. Drugs they know little to nothing about, especially regarding the compounds that form them. The pharma sales people just come by and drop samples on them or push a specific brand of medicine and it is supposed to be the one. Yet pharmacists who spend years scrutinizing the chemical compounds AND interaction of those compounds with other compounds are only permitted to count and dispense. lol. 250k in tuition to count to 30. lol.

        At the end of the day, seems business wins and the real health-ethics go out the window. My hat is off to any pharmacist -regardless of religious belief- who steps up and says "No, sorry, I can't dispense that."


        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          So you go to a doctor, a good one that is conscientious and cares about you.  He examines you, notes all of your physical symptoms, takes blood pressure, blood tests and in general has a very good idea of your state of health.  He gives me a prescription for a drug that he thinks will help.

          The pharmacist takes a look at it and declares that that particular drug is immoral to use because (animal testing, God says it is, drug companies make money with it - take your choice of a hundred reasons) and refuses to fill the prescription.

          *shrug*  If that's what you want in a pharmacist, that's up to you.  I would rather have one that looks at it, checks for interactions with other drugs he has sold me, explains the side effects and how to take it and gives it to me.  I don't need a dissertation on the morality of it, I haven't paid him to examine my health (and he hasn't) and he doesn't have 1/10 the information about me that my doctor has. 

          Actually, the very first time a pharmacist refuses to fill my prescription because his personal sky fairy has told him not to will be the last time my shadow darkens the doorway to that pharmacy.

  4. Jerami profile image58
    Jeramiposted 11 years ago

    Thought I could be up longer that this ...sorry for interupting!
      goina lay down a bit!


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