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Entries in Walgreens (2)

Monday
Sep122011

Walgreens Sued for Firing Hungry Diabetic

Jay LaPrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Walgreens has been sued over firing a diabetic who took chips.

The sacking of a Walgreens cashier who ate a $1.39 bag of chips during a diabetic attack in 2008 and paid for them later has drawn a lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Josefina Hernandez of San Francisco had a clean record in nearly 18 years of service to the drugstore giant. Her supervisors knew she had diabetes, a disease that calls for careful monitoring and regulation of blood sugar levels.

“I almost always carry a piece of candy in my pocket for situations when I feel my blood sugar getting low, but I didn’t have anything on me this time,” Hernandez said in a statement on the EEOC website. “I knew I needed to do something quickly, so I reached for a bag of chips and paid for them as soon as I could. I worked for Walgreens with no problems almost two decades, so I am very upset to lose my job over this.”

The lawsuit claims Walgreens violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.

“Ms. Hernandez took action to raise her blood sugar in what could have turned into an emergency situation,” EEOC regional attorney William R. Tamayo said in a statement. “Accommodating disability does not have to be expensive, but it may require an employer to be flexible and open-minded. One wonders whether a long-term, experienced employee is worth less than a bag of chips to Walgreens.”

The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensation for emotional distress and measures to prevent future discrimination. Walgreens did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for a comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sunday
Sep112011

Fired Michigan Pharmacist Who Shot at Robbers Sues Walgreens

Jay LaPrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- In Benton Township, Michigan, two armed robbers wearing masks burst into a near-deserted Walgreens on May 8, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.  To pharmacist Jeremy Hoven, it was a prescription for trouble, so he filled it with hot lead.

A video, newly released by Hoven's attorneys, shows how events unfolded.

Drawing his own gun, Hoven fired at the attackers and drove them off, saving not just himself but two Walgreens co-workers, as well as the pharmacy's valuable prescription drugs.  By way of saying thanks, Walgreens fired him last week.

Hoven, in an interview with the Benton Township Herald-Palladium, said he had acted out of fear.

"The adrenaline was taking over," he said.  "You could have probably taken my pulse from my breath, because my heart was beating that much."

Only 42 seconds elapsed from start to finish, and all the action was captured on surveillance video.

Before firing, Hoven first tried dialing 911.  But before he could complete the call, the first of the two robbers had vaulted over a counter and was standing five feet away from him.  That's when the pharmacist went for his own gun and opened fire.

The video appears to confirm that Hoven's actions were defensive, and were made only in response to the robbers' attack.

Peter Kosick, Hoven's attorney, told ABC News that, in his opinion, Walgreens should have commended his client for bravery.  That, too, is the opinion of township police Lt. Delman Lange, who, after reviewing the surveillance video, told the local paper, "If it was me, I would have done the same thing."

Though Hoven was licensed by the state of Michigan to carry a gun, Walgreen discourages its pharmacists from packing pistols.  A spokeswoman for the drug chain told ABC News in an email that while Walgreens would not be able to disclose its policies, they were written to protect the safety of customers and employees.

"Store employees receive comprehensive training on our robbery procedures and how to react and respond," she wrote.  Walgreens' approach is "endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects.  Compromise is safer."

Kosick told ABC News that his client fired carefully and responsibly.  He said Hoven fired only to maintain "a safe zone" for himself.  The only thing behind the robber, according to Hoven, was a cinderblock wall.

Kosick also said local residents are solidly behind his client.

"I'd say 95 percent are in favor of what he did," he said. "It's really outraged people.  Not just gun advocates but people on the street.  They stop and tell me they'd have done the same thing, only they wouldn't have missed.  They're outraged by what Walgreens has done.  They're talking boycott, saying they will take their business to CVS or Wal-Mart."

Hoven has filed a lawsuit against Walgreens for wrongful termination.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio