In Stevens v. Rite Aid Corp., No. 15-277 (March 21, 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a jury award of almost $2 million that had been awarded in favor of a pharmacist who had a fear of needles and could not comply with Rite Aid’s new policy that required pharmacists to administer immunization injections to customers.
In 2011, in an effort to fill a vaccination void in the healthcare market, Rite Aid imposed a new requirement that all pharmacists must administer immunizations. Rite Aid revised its job description, requiring pharmacists to obtain valid immunization certificates and establishing immunizations as a part of the pharmacist’s essential job functions.
The plaintiff had worked for Rite Aid for 34 years. After receiving notice of the new requirement, he presented Rite Aid with a note from his treating physician stating that he suffered from trypanophobia, a fear of needles. His condition caused him to become lightheaded, pale, and feeling that he might faint. The physician stated that the plaintiff could not safely administer an injection since the likelihood that he would faint would be unsafe for both the patient and the plaintiff. Due to his trypanophobia, the plaintiff requested that Rite Aid provide him with a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A short time later, Rite Aid terminated his employment. Continue Reading