CVS sued again for firing nurse practitioner who refused to provide contraceptives

A sign on the side of the CVS Pharmacy on May 15, 2020, in Carver, Massachusetts.
A sign on the side of the CVS Pharmacy on May 15, 2020, in Carver, Massachusetts. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A nurse practitioner in Florida has filed a lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy for failing to grant her a religious exemption from the requirement to provide contraceptives. 

The First Liberty Institute announced in a statement Tuesday that it filed a lawsuit on behalf of Gudrun "Gunna" Kristofersdottir, who was fired from her position at a CVS MinuteClinic in Tequesta for refusing to dispense hormonal contraceptives in violation of her Catholic beliefs.

"After accommodating Gunna for several years, CVS fired her because it simply did not like her religious beliefs," said First Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Stephanie Taub. "It is illegal to issue a blanket revocation of all religious accommodations when CVS can accommodate its employees. CVS is sending a message that religious health care workers are not welcome and need not apply."

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The law firm Boyden Gray is also representing Kristofersdottir in the ongoing litigation.

"Our employment laws protect religious freedom in the workplace," added Boyden Gray Managing Partner Jonathan Berry. "No one should have to choose between her faith and her job, especially where it would be easy to continue a longstanding religious accommodation." 

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida West Palm Beach Division last week. 

According to the complaint, CVS had given Kristofersdottir a religious accommodation to not personally prescribe such drugs at the MinuteClinic where she worked. When a patient wanted such a prescription, she referred them to another MinuteClinic provider.

According to the lawsuit, CVS changed its rules in August 2021, adopting a new policy that denies "all such religious accommodations without considering the particular circumstances of the employee requesting the accommodation, including to determine whether that employee could be accommodated without undue hardship."

In spite of the policy change, Kristofersdottir continued to use her religious accommodation without incident well into 2022.

Kristofersdottir sought to clarify with her superior in March 2022 whether or not her religious accommodation was still in effect after hearing of another CVS MinuteClinic employee, Robyn Strader, who was terminated for refusing to dispense contraceptives.

Kristofersdottir's superior assured her that the religious accommodation was still valid. But two weeks later, she was informed that it would no longer be honored.

The complaint alleges Kristofersdottir offered her employer alternatives that would allow her to operate in accordance with her beliefs, like having her work at "a larger clinic, a virtual clinic, or a COVID-19 clinic where contraceptives would never be requested."

Kristofersdottir's superior reportedly dismissed those suggestions. When she informed her employer that she would not be able to prescribe contraceptives, she was terminated.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which instructs employers not to "avoid accommodating a religious practice that it could accommodate without undue hardship." The complaint also claims CVS' actions violated the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, which prohibits actions that "discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment." 

The lawsuit asks a federal judge in Florida to provide Kristofersdottir with "front pay, back pay, restitution, and compensatory damages, including emotional pain and suffering damages" as well as attorney's fees. It also seeks rulings declaring that CVS' new religious accommodation policy is in violation of both federal and state law. 

FLI also represented Strader, a Texas-based nurse practitioner who was terminated from her position at MinuteClinic just months after the pharmacy chain unveiled its new religious accommodation policy for declining to dispense contraceptives. 

In a previous statement to The Christian Post, CVS Executive Director of Corporate Communications Mike DeAngelis defended the new policy, saying that there was "a well-defined process in place for employees to request and be granted a reasonable accommodation due to their religious beliefs, which in some cases can be an exemption from performing certain job functions." 

"It is not possible, however, to grant an accommodation that exempts an employee from performing the essential functions of their job," he stated. "We continue to enhance our MinuteClinic services, growing from providing urgent care to offering more holistic care." 

After identifying "educating and treating patients regarding sexual health matters — including pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infection protection, and safer sex practices" as "essential job functions of our providers and nurses," DeAngelis insisted that "we cannot grant exemptions from these essential MinuteClinic functions."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles