USA: Christian nurse claims unfair dismissal after firing for refusal to dispense contraception

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A Christian nurse practitioner in Texas filed a letter of complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday, after a national drugstore chain terminated her employment for refusing to dispense contraception, the Christian Post (CP) reports.

Represented by religious liberty legal group First Liberty Institute, nurse Robyn Strader contends that her employers, CVS Pharmacy MinuteClinic in Keller, Texas, discriminated against her by not allowing her a religious exemption to dispensing contraception, CP reports. “Before her first day on the job, Ms. Strader asked for a religious accommodation not to prescribe contraception, and upon hiring her, CVS agreed to accommodate her religious beliefs,” First Liberty Counsel Christine Pratt said in the letter to the Employment Commission. “For the next 6.5 years, CVS accommodated Ms. Strader with no issues.”

However, the letter went on, the situation changed in August last year, when CVS decreed that all nurses must perform “essential services related to pregnancy prevention,” including contraception. CVS also told Strader the company would no longer accommodate her religious convictions, and that she had no religious accommodation on file with CVS.” The company told her that unless she began to dispense contraception, she would be fired on October 31, 2021.

In a statement, CVS said it could not exempt an employee like Strader from performing what it described as the essential functions of their job.” Treating patients who want to prevent pregnancy, “essential job functions of our providers and nurses,” CVS said in the statement.

According to Strader’s complaint, CVS violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on religion. “CVS discriminated against Ms. Strader on the basis of religion when it prospectively preempted all requests for religious accommodations related to contraception prescription, derided her religious beliefs and pressured her to abandon them, discontinued a six-year religious accommodation without cause, refused to consider her request for an ongoing religious accommodation, failed to engage with her about possible accommodations, and terminated her because of her religious beliefs,” the letter of complaint asserts.

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