(Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)
An attorney with the Thomas More Society has stated that a Walgreens pharmacist reportedly fired for refusing to dispense Plan B pills was only trying to "stay true" to his beliefs.
Last August Dr. Philip Hall, a devout Baptist, was reportedly fired by the Walgreens Company for refusing to provide the controversial Plan B, aka "morning after pill."
Jocelyn Floyd, special counsel with the Thomas More Society who is representing Hall, told The Christian Post that "we all have the right to stay true to our religious beliefs."
"We stand up for people who are being pressured to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs, which is precisely what Walgreens tried to do to Dr. Hall in forcing him to participate in the sale of Plan B," said Floyd, who was one of four lawyers who filed the lawsuit against Walgreens on Tuesday.
"Walgreens responding to his refusal by firing him was both illegal and horribly dismissive of the value of religious beliefs to our culture and to us as individuals."
Submitted by Floyd and Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, Larry L. Crain of the Tennessee-based Crain, Schuette & Associates, and Joshua Hershberger of the Hershberger Law Office, the suit alleges that Hall was wrongfully terminated from a Jamestown, Tenn., Walgreens.
"Phillip M. Hall brings this action against Walgreen Company for wrongfully terminating his employment as a pharmacist because of his refusal to sell and dispense an abortifacient known as PlanB or the 'morning after pill' based on his conviction that to do so would be sinful and repugnant to his sincerely held religious beliefs," reads the suit's Introduction.
"Walgreen Company's actions amount to religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5."
The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Northeastern Division.
"Our client, Dr. Philip Hall, has lost his job simply for trying to follow an established procedure at work; one that he'd been following for over six years," said Floyd.
"Despite over six years with exemplary reviews, Walgreens fired him without even ever officially changing their internal policies."
James W. Graham of Corporate Media Relations for Walgreens, told CP that while they could not comment on the litigation, Walgreens does allow for employees with moral objections to be exempted from performing certain transactions.
"While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we can tell you that Walgreens company policy allows pharmacists and other employees to step away from completing a transaction to which they have a moral objection," said Graham.
"Our policy also requires the employee to refer the transaction to another employee or manager on duty who will complete the customer's request."
According to Floyd of the Thomas More Society, the plaintiff and his legal representation are awaiting an official response from the Walgreens Company.