A complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois has accused Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy of violating federal civil rights law for retaliating against the plaintiff, a Black female, after she spoke up about alleged racial harassment in the workplace. Tuesday’s lawsuit names the pharmacy, the store’s manager and pharmacy manager, and the corporation’s vice president of retail as defendants.
According to the filing, Pharmaca, a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Colorado, owns and operates a store and pharmacy in Chicago, Ill. where the events leading up to the complaint took place. The plaintiff has been employed with Pharmaca since August 2018 as a “lead practitioner,” the complaint explains.
Reportedly, the pharmacy manager had a bias against all employees who were not of Caucasian heritage and routinely harassed Black and Hispanic employees. Allegedly, on Sept. 14, 2020, the plaintiff complained to the store manager about verbal harassment on part of the pharmacy manager against a Hispanic employee.
Subsequently, the plaintiff claims she experienced various forms of retaliation, including being asked to work a shift outside the hours prescribed by the terms of her employment contract, being asked to illegally change a client’s prescription, and being accused of failing to assist an in-store customer.
Then, in October 2020, the store manager baselessly reduced the plaintiff’s hours and promoted a close friend of the pharmacy manager to the position of assistant store manager without giving the plaintiff an opportunity to apply, the complaint says. In addition, the plaintiff alleges that the pharmacy manager falsely accused her of improperly sharing her system login information with other employees.
The plaintiff reported the alleged misconduct to Pharmaca’s human resources department in February 2021, which purported to investigate the matter. The vice president of retail came to the store unannounced several months later and told the plaintiff that her allegations were unfounded and, though she was not fired, offered her eight weeks of severance pay if she agreed to quit.
The plaintiff declined the offer and continues to work for Pharmaca, though allegedly, she was once again asked to work outside the hours prescribed by the terms of her employment. The employee seeks compensatory and punitive damages and an award of her attorneys’ fees and costs for the purported discriminatory acts.
The plaintiff is represented by Poltrock & Giampietro.