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Prewitt v. Walgreens Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

February 19, 2015

RODNEY G. PREWITT, Plaintiff,
v.
WALGREENS COMPANY, Defendant

Page 293

For Rodney G. Prewitt, Plaintiff: JOHN A. GALLAGHER, LEAD ATTORNEY, GALLAGHER LAW GROUP PC, Berwyn, PA USA.

For Walgreens Company, Defendant: AMIR JONAH VONSOVER, MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKIUS, Philadelphia, PA USA; MICHAEL J. OSSIP, MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP, Philadelphia, PA USA.

Page 294

MEMORANDUM

LAWRENCE F. STENGEL, J.

Rodney Prewitt was employed as a pharmacist at Walgreens. He was demoted and then terminated after voicing a moral objection to vaccinating customers. He claims Walgreens discriminated and retaliated against him because of his age. Walgreens now moves for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, I will grant this motion and enter judgment in favor of Walgreens.

I. BACKGROUND

On August 21, 2006, Rodney Prewitt was hired by Walgreens as a full-time salaried pharmacist.[1] He was 57 at that time.[2] He

Page 295

was assigned to work at the Walgreens store in Oxford, PA on either the day or evening shift.[3] The Oxford store is about eight miles from the plaintiff's home.[4] At the Oxford store, Mr. Prewitt was one of two full-time pharmacists, the other being Karen Schneider.[5] Prewitt and Schneider rotated shifts bi-weekly so that weekend shifts were covered.[6] A third pharmacist Ann Green worked part-time.[7] Typically, two of the three pharmacists worked each day with their shifts overlapping between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.[8] Only two shifts were available for pharmacists at the Oxford store to work because the store was not open twenty-four hours like other Walgreens stores.[9]

a. Prewitt's Moral Objection to Immunizing

In or around 2009, Walgreens began offering customers the flu vaccine, among others, at the Oxford store.[10] The plaintiff was morally opposed to administering the flu vaccine because a close friend of his had contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine.[11] His friend become paralyzed and died of complications from the disease.[12] The plaintiff believed that there was medical evidence to

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substantiate such risks of flu vaccines.[13] He did not want to be responsible for putting his patients at risk.[14] The plaintiff voiced his objection to his store manager.[15] He was permitted to not administer flu vaccines.[16] When customers asked for an immunization, he would refer them to ...


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