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    Key performance metrics and age discrimination in pharmacy

    Eddie MoralesEddie MoralesNo one knows how many pharmacy managers, pharmacy supervisors, and district managers are using failed Key Performance Metrics to justify firing pharmacists they consider too old for the company. In my former district, it seemed to me as if every pharmacist over the age of 50 was being targeted, including myself.

    See also: Are CVS’ metrics unfairly eliminating older pharmacists?

    Filing a complaint

    What made the practice so obvious was the fact that suddenly older pharmacists were being replaced by young, newly licensed pharmacists. In some cases, older pharmacy managers were replaced with new recruits who had worked for the company a mere six months. Pharmacy managers who were not replaced by younger pharmacists had their lives made miserable.

    In June 2014, I brought up this issue in a meeting with the pharmacy supervisor and district manager in my district, and in July 2014, I took it to HR and the regional manager.

    Needless to say, nothing good came out of the meeting with management.

    See also: Second Ala. pharmacist wins age discrimination lawsuit against CVS

    26 states speak up

    When I began to research the number of pharmacists fired for reasons connected with age, I discovered an alarming pattern. Since Drug Topics published my article “Pharmacists’ futures and the math behind unionization” on October 31, I have heard from pharmacists in 26 states. Many tell the age story. It appears to be a common experience.

    Of course, age discrimination is illegal. And even in situations where age was definitely a factor, it’s hard to prove, because a manager will never fire you because of age. Managers are going to look for a workaround and fire you that way. This is where failed Key Performance Metrics has been so useful to managers.

    The problem is, as a field representative from the NLRB in Connecticut once said to me, knowing something is true and proving something is true in a court of law are two separate matters.

    See also: Is there age bias in pharmacy?

    The letter of the law

    Here’s an idea for you. I think it's time that pharmacists sued pharmacy supervisors and district managers individually, apart from the corporations they work for. These supervisors and district managers know that what they are doing is wrong, but they have corporate lawyers backing them up. If you sue the manager, you’re really suing the corporation. And corporations know how to disguise age discrimination.

    It's about time we held pharmacy supervisors and district managers — and maybe regional managers —responsible for their actions. These managers are trained to do what they do to pharmacists.

    Eddie Morales, RPh
    Pharmacist Eddie Morales is leading the charge to unionize in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. For more information, go to ...

    8 Comments

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    • LisaKraft
      I never got fired thankfully but I came very close. The grievance process I went through was a complete kangaroo court. While the union gave me great lip service, honestly in the end they simply co-signed this managers professional slander of me. The entire experience left me shaken. In the end though, I still believe and I do believe that a pharmacist has a better chance of STAYING employed if they are in a union. I can't argue that unions don't have corruption and I can't say unions are perfect but it is a start and you've got to start somewhere. If anything the process of being terminated gives you plenty of opportunity to begin the important task of documentation. If one chooses to litigate, documents will be essential to a case. Unionization for pharmacists is crucial and I support this direction pharmacy is taking. Not all unions are as corrupt as (sad to say this) my own union either. I have heard tale of a union or two that were not half bad.
    • Anonymous
      Lisa, so let me get this straight. Your union went thru the grievance process with you and you were still fired. HUMMMMM.... sounds like those union dues were very useful. Sorry to burst your bubble Eddie, but unions are as corrupt as the employers they are meant to protect against. One of the best solutions (while not for everyone), is stronger independent pharmacies. And lastly, Eddie....caps lock is not your friend either.
    • LisaKraft
      Eddie is spot on the money. When, after 9 months of suffering under a manager who was, as my union rep astutely pointed out that I "have a target on my back" I almost has a nervous breakdown it was so bad and it was all based on lies. I did get my HR file AND the managers "desk file/supervisors file" and yes it was almost ENTIRELY negative. While I did have a union who was sworn to uphold "fair and just contract" they pretty much marched me through the grievance process saying "this is so wrong, we're gonna make this right..." and then kicked me under the bus. It was the worst experience of my life but I fought hard and with no help from my union, kept my job. yes, everyone should get a hold of their HR file (both the one one at HR and the "managers file") and do this at least once a year. Furthermore, feel free to place positive comments in your HR file, which by the way you are entitled to do by law.
    • EddieMorales
      LET ME ASK ALL PHARMACISTS A QUESTION: DO ANY OF YOU KNOW THE CONTENTS OF YOUR PERSONNEL FILE? YOU ARE ENTITLED TO GET A COPY. I BET YOU ONLY NEGATIVE INFORMATION IS IN YOUR PROFILE. YOU IN ALL LIKELIHOOD WILL NOT FIND ANY GOOD PERFORMANCE REVIEWS IN YOUR PERSONNEL FILE, BUT WILL FIND THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS ARE THERE. THIS IS THE WAY CORPORATIONS ARE ABLE TO GET RID OF PHARMACISTS WITHOUT A HITCH. WITH KEY PERFORMANCE METRICS BEING THE PERFECT WEAPON AGAINST PHARMACISTS (AND THE LEGALITY OF FIRING EMPLOYEES BASED ON KEY PERFORMANCE METRICS WILL BE THE NEXT HOT TOPIC IF I HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT) CORPORATIONS HAVE IT EASY WHEN BEING SUED. THEY HAVE YOUR OWN PERSONNEL FILE TO USE AGAINST YOU. ALL OF THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ENTIRELY ON THE PHARMACIST. ADD TO THIS THE TERRIBLE WORKING CONDITIONS THE PHARMACISTS HAVE HAD TO ENDURE FOR DECADES, AND WHETHER OR NOT YOU THINK UNIONS ARE ANY GOOD, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT IT IS THE ONLY AVENUE LEFT TO PHRMACISTS IF THEY WANT TO GET CONSIDERABLE RELIEF TO THEIR CURRENT PREDICAMENT. LEGISLATION CAN TAKE YEARS. BOARDS OF PHARMACY HAVE DONE NOTHING TO HELP THE PHARMACIST. PHARMACY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE NO CLOUT. THE NLRB IS A WORTHLESS ENTITY TO THE PHARMACISTS. SO TELL ME YOU UNION HATERS, TO WHOM SHOULD A PHARMACIST TURN TO IN ORDER TO REMEDY THE SITUATION? WHY DID THE SHAWS-OSCO PHARMACY CHAIN IN MAINE DEEM IT NECESSARY TO UNIONIZE? WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE TARGET STORE PHARMACISTS IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK BANDED TOGETHER AND JOINED A UNION? WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE SO MANY PHARMACISTS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY ARE LOOKING TO UNIONIZE? THE PROFESSION OF PHARMACY IS DEAD WHEN IT COMES TO CHAIN PHARMACIES. CHAINS HAVE MADE IT THE "JOB" OF PHARMACY. THAT IS THE REALITY. IF A UNIONS ARE ROTTEN ORANGE AND CHAIN PHARMACIES ARE ROTTEN APPLES, THEN GIVE ME THE ROTTEN ORANGE. AT LEAST I'LL GET PAID FOR EVERY MINUTE I WORK FOR THE CORPORATION.--ROGUE PHARMACIST EDDIE MORALES
    • Anonymous
      I have never seen a Union help a pharmacist keep their job. If anything Union rules often cause problems. The government already provides many resources for worker safety, Unions are obsolete.
    • Anonymous
      As a pharmacist in my late 50's, I support Mr. Morales view completely. However, it is important to point out that the US justice system favors the side with the most money and/or the best lawyers. Unless you are sure you have both of these factors, suing your employer is likely to be futile. The best hope for pharmacists in their 50's to fight age discrimination is to band together - class action lawsuit or unionization.
    • Anonymous
      Eddie, your readers may want to know that NABP issued a resolution against performance metrics (NABP Resolution 109-7-13) which has since been adopted by most US state boards of pharmacy. Anyone using metrics in pharmacy is therefore going against good practice standards set out by our major regulatory body. How would such chains respond to the prospect of being nationally de-licensed for their policy of non-compliance?
    • Anonymous
      When was this? I'm still being pushed to meet 15 minute wait times ? And NABP has made it illegal?