Courthouse News Service reports that Anhue Doan
of Bakersfield, California is suing Wal-Mart, former supervisor Duane Ferrone and district manager David May in Kern County Court, alleging religious discrimination and retaliatory termination.
Doan, who worked at Wal-Mart from 2006 through December 2011, alerted Ferrone in June 2011 that other pharmacy employees were engaging in illegal activities. Doan claims that these included "not following DEA requirements for controlled substances, releasing controlled substances too soon, using cellular phones in the pharmacy, improperly opening sealed bags of narcotic medication... cashiers bagging medications without pharmacist supervision, [and] cashiers providing medication to customers without pharmacist supervision."
The same month that Doan turned whistleblower, she says the defendants wrote her up for praying with customers.
"Plaintiff was written up specifically for stating that she would pray with customers and stating to customers, 'be healed,'" the complaint states. "Defendants at this time stated that plaintiff could no longer pray for customers, and stated that she would be terminated if she continued to do so."
According to the lawsuit, in October 2011, district manager David May was sent to investigate the store at which Doan worked. Two months later, May called Doan into his office to discuss a surveillance video that showed her touching a crying customer's hand.
Although there was no audio on the video, May allegedly accused Doan of praying and fired her days later. Her lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart "surreptitiously resolved to replace plaintiff and terminate her employment" because of her religious beliefs. Doan also believes that she was fired in retaliation for "reporting missing medication to defendant, as well as inappropriate prescriptions written by other co-workers of defendant."
Doan, who says she has not been able to find a new job, claims that religious discrimination has caused her "psychological and emotional distress, including severe stress, emotional trauma, humiliation and loss of self esteem."
Doan is seeking punitive damages for religious discrimination, failure to accomodate religious beliefs, retaliation for refusal to participate in illegal activity and wrongful termination.
Earlier this year, a group of Muslim employees at CEVA Logistics in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee were terminated
after they refused an order to use a bathroom for break period prayers. The men were given their jobs back after they complained about their treatment.