Nurse practitioner sues CVS, alleging religious discrimination

A nurse practitioner filed a lawsuit against CVS Health Jan. 11, alleging the company fired her for refusing to prescribe contraceptives and drugs that can induce abortion. 

Robyn Strader, PhD, MSN, worked at a CVS MinuteClinic in Keller, Texas, for six and a half years under a religious accommodation that allowed her not to prescribe such drugs. In August 2021, CVS said it would no longer honor employees' religious accommodations for contraceptives and fired Dr. Strader in October 2021.  

The lawsuit alleges CVS violated Texas law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees' religious beliefs. 

"CVS could have accommodated Ms. Strader in several ways, including by continuing to honor her religious accommodation that worked successfully for years or transferring her to a virtual position, laboratory education or a location specializing in COVID-19," the suit alleges. 

The lawsuit requests CVS pay unspecified damages and reinstate Dr. Strader in a role that accommodates her beliefs. At least two other nurse practitioners have also sued the retail pharmacy chain in recent months for similar reasons. 

CVS told Becker's it has a well-defined process for employees to request and receive reasonable religious accommodations. 

"It is not possible, however, to grant an accommodation that exempts an employee from performing the essential functions of their job," a spokesperson said.

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