Walmart pharmacist sues over termination

A longtime Medford pharmacist has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Walmart for allegedly violating his rights under the Americans with Disability Act.

David Shane Doran, 58, is one of about a dozen pharmacists terminated by Walmart, nine of whom who are bringing suit against the national big-box chain and represented by Richard E. Fradette, lead counsel on all the plaintiffs' cases.

Fradette, a pharmacist himself, said Walmart terminated the employees because of their histories of alcohol or drug addiction — a violation of the ADA, he said.

"Walmart knew all the facts when it hired our clients," Fradette said in a press release. "Walmart simply changed the rules years after they were all on the job and now has fired at least twelve pharmacists in recovery that I know of. That is not fair."

Dan Fogleman, a Walmart spokesman, said the company in 2011 implemented and adapted a new credentialing program for its pharmacists "to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers."

Pharmacists whose record with the state pharmacy board showed disciplinary action had been taken against them for inappropriate conduct, such as misfilled prescriptions, theft or diversion of drugs, or other activity which may have put patients at risk, were no longer eligible to work for Walmart, Fogleman said.

"Mr. Doran was a pharmacist terminated under this program," Fogleman said.

Fradette has instructed his clients not to speak to the media.

Doran's suit seeks $265,000 in lost wages, $350,000 in lost future wages, $500,000 for emotional damage and at least $50 million in punitive damages against Walmart. Fradette said the multi-million-dollar punitive demand is intended to deter Walmart from violating the ADA.

"How do you send a message to Walmart that they can't break the law?" Fradette said.

According to court documents, Doran was employed by Walmart as a pharmacist "at various locations in the State of Oregon." A graduate of Oregon State University in 1979, Doran was licensed to practice pharmacy in Oregon in 1980.

In 2007, Doran was diagnosed with an addiction, a recognized disability under federal and state laws, after being fired from a pharmacy unrelated to Walmart in January of that year for "conduct related to addiction."

Doran stopped practicing at that time, and reported his conduct to the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. He entered into a 30-day, in-house treatment program. In June 2007, Doran entered into an agreement with the state board and was granted a probationary license to practice pharmacy.

Doran's licensing agreement required him to provide "full disclosure" to any prospective employer. He was also required to attend counseling, submit to weekly and random drug tests and be closely supervised during his work hours.

On June 19, 2007, Doran, who had disclosed his history of addiction, was hired by Walmart to work in its Medford store's pharmacy. Doran had completed his treatment plan ahead of schedule, and had received high marks in his performance reviews from Walmart, the complaint states.

But on Oct. 19, 2011, just one month after being deemed in his performance review as "a great pharmacist with a wealth of knowledge," Doran was fired by Walmart. Doran was told the termination was "because of his past history," court documents said.

Fradette said at the time of the firings, the pharmacists, including Doran, had "long-term sobriety, had excellent performance reviews with Walmart, and never been impaired by alcohol or drugs while working at Walmart, had valid licenses to practice pharmacy, and were absolutely able to perform the duties of a pharmacist."

Being terminated because of his medical condition and history of treatment was "devastating" to Doran "and resulted in depression and suicidal thoughts, and physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure that in turn became an obstacle to other employment," the complaint reads.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.


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