CV NEWS FEED // A Catholic nurse practitioner in Palm Beach, FL, is suing CVS Health for abruptly suspending a reasonable religious accommodation that allowed her not to be involved in prescribing contraceptives.
First Liberty Institute, the law firm Boyden Gray & Associates, and the law firm Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC, have filed a federal lawsuit against CVS Health on behalf of Gunna Kristofersdottir, according to a statement. CVS revoked a longstanding religious accommodation of Kristofersdottir’s Catholic beliefs about hormonal contraceptives.
“After accommodating Gunna for several years, CVS fired her because it simply did not like her religious beliefs,” said Stephanie Taub, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute:
It is illegal to issue a blanket revocation of all religious accommodations when CVS can accommodate its employees. CVS is sending a message that religious health care workers are not welcome and need not apply.
“Our employment laws protect religious freedom in the workplace,” added Jonathan Berry, Managing Partner at Boyden Gray PLLC and former head of rulemaking at the U.S. Department of Labor. “No one should have to choose between her faith and her job, especially where it would be easy to continue a longstanding religious accommodation.”
Kristofersdottir was employed by a CVS MinuteClinic in Tequesta, Florida, where she was granted a religious accommodation from prescribing contraception from 2014 to 2022. On the rare occasion a patient asked for such a prescription, she referred them to another CVS MinuteClinic provider who satisfied the request.
In August 2021, CVS abruptly announced that it was revoking all religious accommodations that allowed providers to refrain from prescribing these drugs.
Kristofersdottir has worked for over 20 years as a nurse practitioner. Prior to working for CVS, she worked for both the Air Force and the Navy as well as for clinics located in Georgia and Oklahoma.
In the complaint, attorneys stated that
CVS could have accommodated Ms. Kristofersdottir in several ways, including by transferring her to a virtual position, a larger clinic, an education or training position, or a location specializing in COVID-19, or continuing to honor the religious accommodation that worked successfully for years. CVS’s policy of preemptively denying all such requests regardless of individual circumstances is unlawful and has a disparate impact on its employees on the basis of religion.
One year ago, First Liberty and Boyden Gray filed a similar federal lawsuit against CVS Health on behalf of Robyn Strader, a nurse practitioner in Texas with multiple, advanced degrees who was fired after CVS had accommodated her religious beliefs without issue for six and a half years.