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Protection of Conscience Project

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Service, not Servitude
Policy Positions

ABC Health Service Agency and Jane Doeroe *

Kansas, U.S.A.


Introduction

This agreement is the result of a successful resolution to the case of a Kansas pharmacist who was threatened with firing for her conscientious refusal to dispense the morning after pill. In January, 2001, Jane Roedoe* requested that her employer accommodate her by excusing her from dispensing the 'morning after pill'. Her immediate supervisor told her that her "religion didn't matter" and that she would be required to dispense or lose her job. She contacted an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice, and he wrote to the employer urging them to agree to Jane's request, asserting that she was protected by federal statutes. When a favourable response was not forthcoming, a formal complaint was filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Office.

During negotiations, the employer first wanted Jane to agree to dispense the pill if no one else was available in the facility. She refused, pointing out that this condition would almost certainly never arise. She and her attorney proposed that, if that situation were to arise, the patient could be referred to a local commercial pharmacy with the employer picking up the cost of the prescription. The employer countered with the proposal that referral be made to a commercial pharmacy, but with Jane picking up the cost. She refused this last condition.

At this impasse, the attorney reminded them of a specific federal statute that appears to be a blanket protection of conscience, at least with regard to facilities like that operated by the employer, which are federally funded. Shortly thereafter, the employer forwarded the following settlement proposal, which has now been formally adopted signed by all parties. [Administrator]

*Pseudonyms have been used for the parties to the settlement.


Settlement Agreement
June, 2001

This agreement between the ABC Health Service Agency*, hereinafter ABC, and Ms. Jane Doeroe*, hereinafter Complainant, shall be effective on the date it is signed by all parties.

I.

A. The ABC agrees to exempt the complainant from pre-packaging of the post-coital contraceptive ("morning after pill") in the Pharmacy.

B. The ABC agrees the Chief Pharmacist or a University of Kansas pharmacy student will dispense post-coital contraceptive. In the event the Chief Pharmacist or KU pharmacy student are unavailable to dispense post-coital contraceptive, the Medical Doctor will dispense. the complainant agrees and understands that under no circumstances will the Medical Doctor(s) be taken away from direct patient care, in order to comply with this section of the settlement agreement. Direct patient care refers to medical care directly rendered to a patient by a member of the medical personnel. After the Medical Doctor(s) has finished with the patient prescribed the post-coital contraceptive, and before he or she begins to examine a new patient, unless there is an emergency, he or she will go to the pharmacy and dispense the post-coital pre-packaged prescription. If time and circumstances do not permit the Medical Doctor(s) to dispense the post-coital prescription in the exam room, the Medical Doctor(s) will write and outside prescription for an FDA approved post-coital contraception. The patient will have it filled at a contract pharmacy, Floorwalkers on A Street*, and the cost of the prescription will be covered by the clinic.

C. The ABC agrees, in the event, that a Medical Doctor(s) is unavailable and the Nurse Practitioner has written a prescription for the post-coital contraceptive, the Nurse Practitioner will dispense, provided she is dispensing her own prescription. The complainant agrees and understands that under no circumstances will the Nurse Practitioner be taken away from direct patient care in order to comply with this section of the settlement agreement. Direct patient care refers to medical care directly rendered to a patient by a member of the medical personnel. After the Nurse Practitioner has finished with the patient prescribed the post-coital contraceptive, and before she begins to examine a new patient, unless there is an emergency, she will go to the pharmacy and dispense the post-coital pre-packaged prescription. If time and circumstances do not permit for the Nurse Practitioner to dispense the post-coital prescription in the exam room, she will write an outside prescription for an FDA approved post-coital contraception. The patient will have it filled at a contract pharmacy, Floorwalkers on A Street*, and the cost of the prescription will be covered by the clinic.

II

This agreement is in full satisfaction of the complainant's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) case and the complainant agrees that her complaint will be treated as withdrawn on the effective date of this agreement. Further, the complainant promises not to sue on the complaint in any U.S. District Court or otherwise pursue it in any other forum, including Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Negotiated Grievance Procedures, or through the Agency Grievance Procedure, if applicable.

If the complainant believes the ABC has failed to comply with the terms of this settlement agreement, the complainant shall notify the _______City Area ABC Regional EEO manager, in writing of the alleged non-compliance within 30 days of when the complainant knew or should have known of the alleged non-compliance. The complainant may request the terms of the settlement agreement be specifically implemented or, alternatively, the complaint be reinstated for further processing from the point processing ceased under the terms of this settlement agreement. If the Regional EEO Manager has not responded to the complainant in writing, or if the complainant is not satisfied with the Agency's attempt to resolve the matter, the complainant may appeal to the EEOC for a determination as to whether or not the Agency has complied with the terms of this settlement agreement. The complainant may file such an appeal 35 days after she serves the allegations of noncompliance upon the Regional EEO Manager, but not later than 30 days after receipt of the determination of the Regional EEO Manager.

III.

This agreement neither confirms nor denies the complainant's allegations or charges, and the ABC specifically denies discrimination/retaliation or the presence or practice of any other prohibited personnel practice. The complainant expressly promises not to use this agreement, no permit any other person to use it, in any judicial or administrative proceeding as evidence of discrimination/retaliation or other prohibited personnel practice.

IV.

No attorney fees.

V.

Facsimile signatures shall be binding on the parties as if original signatures.

 

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