Beliefs | Can staff refuse service for 'personal reasons'?

Can staff refuse service for 'personal reasons'?

A Pharmacist refused to dispense emergency contraception on a Sunday because it went against their beliefs, Metro reports.

A mum visited her local LloydsPharmacy at Sainsbury’s on Lewes Road, Brighton, when the only working female Pharmacist refused to prescribe the morning after pill due to ‘personal reasons’.  

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Comments (4)

  • Questioned HR Profes
    Questioned HR Profes
    Thu, 4 Jul 2019 2:29pm BST
    It seems the world of HR is not what it used to be. Our role as Business Partners and supporters to people and Management, is now more so one of risk management. Instead of promoting a harmonised environment for working, we now have to be the deliverers of news that includes that of 'you must hire applicants that may not help or promote our business, and in fact may actually be a detriment to us, because if you don't we may face Discrimination claims'.

    The most significant point here however though is that of LloydsPharmacy failing in their attempt to justify the employee’s actions. Their statement reads that they “allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medication that goes against their personal beliefs if there is adequate alternative care available for the patient”. The most pertinent part of this sentence therefore being that LloydsPharmacy are justifying the employee’s actions because they believed adequate and alternative care was available. This is so unashamedly contradictory as what they have failed to see is that the employee has in fact been discriminatory toward to customer on the matter of pro-choice. The last time I checked, UK law supported a woman’s right to decide what happens to her body; where therefore is the support of this customer’s choice and beliefs?!

    I agree totally with the comments from Ma'am - this case shows how wrong we get it and that attitudes toward protection to employees can sometimes be to the detriment of others’ beliefs; what happened to simply ‘doing the right thing’. There are surely enough jobs out there to ensure that people can choose to work for an employer that they can promote and work in harmony with.
  • Stevie Babie
    Stevie Babie
    Mon, 1 Jul 2019 3:50pm BST
    The employer should have been made aware by the employee that they held personal beliefs that could impact catostrphically on the service they provided to the general public (most of whom are likely not to hold the same beliefs), and should have put in place, a reasonable adjustment to protect both parties.
  • Ma'am
    Mon, 1 Jul 2019 3:26pm BST
    So, stroppy woman, with not a second thought for customer service and the whole reason that she is employed (ie to do a job and provide a service) gets every Sunday off in future ? Smart ! - Somebody is being played here.
    Personally I'd give her every day off so she can get a job where her gender-based prejudices can do less harm.

    The job involves doing "x" ; if you don't like doing "x" then go and get a different job. Jobs are there because something needs to be done, not to be some kind of personal extension of your belief structure.
  • Anna
    Mon, 1 Jul 2019 2:00pm BST
    I think it is totally unreasonably to expect your personal beliefs to trump someone else's when you are being paid to provide a service. If you allow one set of beliefs to override another then where does it stop? If you cannot be professional enough to put your beliefs aside then you are in the wrong job. It is not up to a pharmacist to make moral proclamations about the use of the legal and prescribed drugs they provide. Outrageous.