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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Fired for Praying With Customers, Woman Says

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) - Wal-Mart fired a pharmacist for praying for her patients to get well, which was captured on video, the woman claims in court.

Anhue Doan sued Wal-Mart Stores, her supervisor Duane Ferrone, and district manager David May in Kern County Court.

Doan says she started working at Wal-Mart in 2006 as a pharmacist.

In June 2011, she says, she sent an email to Ferrone alerting him that other pharmacy workers were engaging in illegal activities, including "not following DEA requirements for controlled substances, releasing controlled substances too soon, using cellular phones in the pharmacy, improperly opening sealed bags of narcotic medication ... cashiers bagging medications without pharmacist supervision, [and] cashiers providing medication to customers without pharmacist supervision."

That very month, Doan says, the defendants wrote her up for practicing her religious beliefs.

"Plaintiff was written up specifically for stating that she would pray for customers and stating to customers, 'be healed.' Defendants at this time stated that plaintiff could no longer pray for customers, and stated that she would be terminated if she continued to do so," the complaint states.

It continues: "In or about October 2011, defendants' district manager, May, stated that he was assigned by defendants to investigate the store location at which plaintiff worked.

"In December 2011, May brought plaintiff into his office regarding a surveillance tape. The video depicted plaintiff touching a customer's hand, as well as the customer crying. There was no sound on the video. Defendants stated that this video showed that plaintiff was praying and that they were going to terminate her.

"On or about December 8, 2011, plaintiff was terminated by defendants.

"Plaintiff is informed and believes that defendants assigned plaintiff's duties to other workers who were not religious."

Doan claims that Wal-Mart "surreptitiously resolved to replace plaintiff and terminate her employment" after discovering her religious beliefs.

She claims she has been unable to find work, and that the religious discrimination inflicted "psychological and emotional distress, including severe stress, emotional trauma, humiliation, and loss of self esteem."

She also claims the defendants discriminated against her in retaliation for "report[ing] missing medication to defendant, as well as inappropriate prescriptions written by other co-workers of defendant."

She seeks punitive damages for religious discrimination, failure to accommodate religious beliefs, retaliation for refusal to participate in illegal activity, and wrongful termination.

She is represented by Darren Harris with Spray, Gould & Bowers, of Tustin.

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