A Wal-Mart Whistleblower Pharmacist in New Hampshire claimed that she was wrongly fired after reporting safety concern about coworker safety prescriptions.
The Ex-Pharmacist took the company to call more than $31 Million in damages. Maureen McPaddenas, a staff pharmacist, started working for Walmart in 1994. She was employed at several Walmart stores over the years across the country.
In 2010, she was working in New Hampshire under Janice Urbanski who was the pharmacy manager. Urbanski said that she gave McPadden “verbal coaching” for not doing certain tasks.
However, McPadden stated that she was not informed about it. Hence Walmart’s policy requires superiors to say, “you are being coached,” and Urbanski didn’t do so, said McPadden. McPadden argues that incident didn’t count as an official discipline.
McPadden concerned about Urbanski pharmacy manager
In the summer of 2011, McPadden raised concerns about both Urbanski and a pharmacy manager, named David Kelley, about issues McPadden was having with the staff. She claimed that there were not enough trained pharmacy technicians for the summer season.
McPadden noted that pharmacy management also spoke to staffing issues, and Urbanski said that he needs more technicians. During the McPadden employee review, conducted by Urbanski on 26 September 2011, she remarked 3 out of 5.
Urbanski noted that McPadden needed to complete tasks in a more timely matter. McPadden got a second coaching for being late, not completing tasks, and leaving work without completing her duties.
After that, Mr. Urbanski devoted 2 out of 5 but still maintained that McPadden was a solid performer with technical competencies. Later a man named Joshua Varieur took over Urbanski’s position, which didn’t please McPadden because he didn’t get any proper training. She said that she know how to better fill patient’s prescriptions.
Not proper prescription with drug instead of branded version
In 2012, Joshua Varieur filled a prescription with a drug generic instead of a branded version, due to patient’s allergy. In this way, Varieur had also made two errors on earlier, McPadden said.
Due to this, McPadden took a two-week leave due to not feeling well. Meanwhile, at the pharmacy, the woman working on the counter, named Jennifer Fonseca, noticed that McPadden’s physician had prescribed her lorazepam.
Fonseca told Varieur all this and that McPadden had a nervous breakdown. After this, the pharmacy manager told McPadden to come back to work.
McPadden spoke with Certo who was replaced by Kelley as district manager and stated that this violated the Health Insurance, but McPadden claimed that Certo took no meaningful action against this matter.
Three weeks later, McFadden emailed Certo that she lost her key, which, with Walmart’s policy could lead to termination. Certo contacted his colleagues for input that he had not been in this.
Donald Walls, which is his colleague, said that loss of keys would mean having first level coaching. So, a disciplinary report should have been done. It was also evidenced that a male New Hampshire pharmacist had lost their keys and 1-level coaching had been received.
Certo informed McPadden that loss of keys was 2nd-level coaching. She had already been issued 2nd-level coaching. McPadden maintained that she was fired not because of the key situation but due to gender.
Randy Hargrove, i.e., Walmart spokesman told the Pharmacy Times that the concerns that McPadden had didn’t play a role in her dismissal.
“We will not tolerate any issues of any type”, Hargrove said. “For the Business reason, we disciplined her for legitimate reasons, and because she was already in our company’s progressive process, the final offense of losing her pharmacy keys resulted in her termination.”
That was $31 million in damages; Hargrove said they simply disagree with this. Around $15 million of $31.2 million punitive damages McPadden received were related to gender.
Maureen McPedden was a 13-year employee who reported her concerns to management that she is working in Walmart’s New Hampshire pharmacy. After losing a pharmacy key, she was fired in 2012.
The jury awarded most of the money based on gender discrimination claims, and also found Walmart’s conduct was for her complaints about privacy violations. She said, “I really feel they wanted to message that Walmart did something wrong”.
McPadden said her sister and mother at times argued with her to give up and move on in the three years leading up to trial, she said that she was inspired by her late father to preserve.
McPadden said my father always told me that Jobs were very, very important and she had a real duty to keep my patients safe. The condition in the pharmacy was full of problems and I always wanted to do something for them.
Originally filed lawsuit
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2014, tells that Walmart wrongly trained and pharmacy staff was supervised at Seabrook, New Hampshire. The former pharmacist was fired in November 2012.
She was doing the job there for 18 years and fired not due to being an inactive staff or having a violation but some privacy stuff like gender and serious medical condition.
In 2 years Walmart blames the worker for losing the key to the pharmacy. It is said that 13 other employees either quit, transferred or was fired and Walmart left that position empty for new, inexperienced employees and the old one were fired.
This is the bad act of Walmart due to the many workers that were not pleased with it. “This inexpert staff, constant turnover, and understaffing generates a serious threat to patient safety and creates regulatory violations with the safety pharmacy perform,” grievance.
It was noticed that too many complaints happened in the pharmacy and the inexperienced and lack of professional staff presented a health risk, the plaintiff complained to the Chief Compliance Investigator of Seabrook, New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy.
Then in August of 2012, the plaintiff invited her issue to the Walmart District Manager for her, but nothing was done to maintain the situation. That month she claims that serious dispensing errors occurred that her boss tried initially to blame the plaintiff that she was found not to be responsible for her mistake.
According to plaintiff that stress of the job and not proper support from the Walmart make her so upset and she lost 18 pounds due to this and she was having headaches, anxiety, gastrointestinal symptoms, and depression. She always uses sleeping pills at night for proper sleep.
In September 2012 her doctor advised her to take a leave of two weeks from the medical store. When she went back, she learned that pharmacy technician had not only access to her private health information and had told others about the plaintiff at the pharmacy.
Given this unauthorized private medical disclosure data is a violation of the law, the plaintiff took her review about the incident to the district manager, but then fired or transfer of the worker who had illegally access the plaintiff file.
The plaintiff did acknowledge that she temporarily misplaced her pharmacy key in November 2012 when she was just about to move to new home, and she also tells that she followed the proper protocol and reported the missing key immediately.
In court, the plaintiff shows that other pharmacy employees who were male also loss their keys, but they didn’t get fired for their error.
Also, she claims that the company’s coaching for improvement policy of employees who did serious violations in the form of “Decision Making Day.”
During this all, the plaintiff dropped some of the allegations against Walmart in November 2015, then the court was asked to grant summary judgment, so that will dismiss additional allegations.
Then at the end, the court allowed the case to go to trial on multiple counts of discrimination and one count of retaliation and wrong termination. The matter, at last, went before this month, and then they sided with the plaintiff.
Jury result on Walter McPadden case
Thus the jury concerns that Walmart had discriminated against plaintiff based on her gender that was the violation of both New Hampshire state law and Civil Rights Act.
The jury also mentions that Walmart has retaliated against the plaintiff, not because of medical leave of two days but because of her attempts that she blew the whistle at the pharmacy of unsafe conditions.
That was so strange for the jury that Walmart fired plaintiff for her gender and medical leave. Regarding circumstances, the jury rewarded her $164,093 back pay, another $558,392.87 front pay, $500,000 compensatory damages and $15 million for state-level discrimination claims and the punitive damages each for the federal.
In total, it is said that Walmart is on hook around $31.22 million. That is less than 0.3% of $17 billion brought in during the third quarter of 2015. So, of course, the company who spent more than $2 million and fought for five years, a $7,000 safety fine for those workers who were trampled to death on Black Friday that will have to appeal the verdict.