A former Walgreens employee with asthma is suing the drugstore giant, alleging she was fired for not wearing disposable masks which made her condition worse.
On Wednesday, Cynthia Stephens filed a lawsuit against Bridgeton Walgreens where she worked, the drugstore chain and several other unnamed defendants in Cumberland County Superior Court, claiming she was fired after refusing to let her wear clothes. cloth masks instead of disposable masks, which Stephens says make his asthma worse.
The six-count trial includes allegations that Stephens was discriminated against for a medical condition defined as disability, failure to provide reasonable accommodation and retaliation.
A Walgreens spokesperson declined a request for comment.
In September 2019, Stephens started working at Bridgeton Walgreens as a pharmacy technician, according to the complaint. Months later, in March 2020, the company demanded that all employees wear disposable masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the suit.
Stephens made it clear before the requirement that she is disabled due to asthma and cannot wear disposable masks, which exacerbates her asthma, according to the costume.
After asking a store manager if she could wear a sheet mask as an alternative, Stephens was asked to speak to a regional manager. The regional director told Stephens to speak to security operations, who asked him to fill out accommodation forms, documents that would potentially allow him to wear cloth masks, depending on the suit.
Stephens submitted the accommodation form and his request was approved until July 2020, according to the complaint.
But when Stephens asked to continue using sheet masks after July, she started having issues, according to the suit.
On August 7, 2020, Stephens had an asthma attack at work that brought her to the emergency room in an ambulance, according to the prosecution. She filed a workers’ compensation claim and returned to work shortly after, according to the lawsuit.
In early September, Stephens asked about her request to continue wearing sheet masks and was told she couldn’t work in the pharmacy with one, the suit said.
The only alternative he was given was to accept demotion and pay cut and work on the floor, the suit said. Security operations also told her to wear a disposable mask over the cloth mask or wear a face shield, two options Stephens said would worsen her condition or make her difficult to see, the statement said.
With no alternative that wouldn’t worsen her asthma, Stephens was fired, according to the lawsuit. It is not known when she was fired.
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Rodrigo Torrejon can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter @rodrigotorrejon.