Fire Us Both or Neither, Pharmacist Says

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A pharmacist claims CVS Pharmacy fired him – but did not fire his girlfriend – because he touched her “in a sexual manner for a few seconds” in a nonpublic area of the store. His girlfriend “stated that the physical contact was completely consensual and not unwanted,” but it was captured on video and CVS fired him, the man says in his civil rights complaint.

     Joseph Prata says he had been a full-time staff pharmacist for CVS for more than 16 years. He had “a consensual, voluntary, personal romantic relationship with another employee,” he says in his federal discrimination complaint.
     He says his sweetie “was [a] consensual participant” in the few seconds of sexual touching in a back room, and “never complained about it.” And he says it wasn’t the first time.
     “Unfortunately, to prevent property theft the employer had installed a hidden camera in the back of the store.” With the video evidence, CVS told Prata “that he had engaged in a ‘gross violation of company policy,'” and fired him.
     But it didn’t fire his girlfriend. That makes it sexual discrimination, Prata says. “The employer could have fired both plaintiff and Ms. [C] or could have retained both plaintiff and Ms. [C], but could not fire one for the same activity without terminating the other. See McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transp Co., 427 U.S. 273 (1976).”
     Prata seeks lost wages, punitive damages, and costs, and he wants his job back.
     He is represented by Robert Goodstein of New Rochelle.

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