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Press Release 12-15-2011

B&B Pharmacy in Bellflower to Pay $70,000 for Disability Discrimination In EEOC Suit

Pharmacist Fired After Giving Notice of Kidney Transplant Surgery, Federal Agency Charged

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the simultaneous  filing and $70,000 settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit brought  against Gemmel Pharmacies Inc., doing business as B&B Pharmacy, on behalf  of a pharmacist who was denied a reasonable accommodation and fired due to his  disability.

According to the federal agency,  the pharmacist was hired at B&B Pharmacy in Bellflower, Calif.  in January 2007. The pharmacist was  known to have severe diabetes, including renal failure. In August 2007, the pharmacist learned that a  donor kidney had become available for him, requiring an immediate kidney  transplant. He quickly advised B&B  management of the impending surgery and his need for two to three months of  unpaid leave of absence to recover. Instead,  the EEOC said, B&B Pharmacy fired and replaced the pharmacist.

Such alleged conduct violates the  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The  EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Gemmel Pharmacies Inc. d/b/a B&B  Pharmacy, Case No. CV11-10357-ODW (FFMX)) after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

  As part of settlement, the parties  entered into a three-year consent decree which provides $70,000 in monetary  relief for the pharmacist and designates an equal employment opportunity (EEO)  coordinator. The EEO coordinator will  revise the company's policies and procedures to comply with the ADA, particularly with respect to administering reasonable  accommodations; train all employees on the policies; track future reasonable  accommodation requests and ADA  complaints; and submit annual reports to the EEOC on the handling of such  requests and complaints.

"This was a life-and-death  situation for this pharmacist that could have been settled simply," Anna Y.  Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office. "Employers are required to explore effective  accommodations for employees with disabilities.  The cost and work involved toward that end is often minimal, starting  with simple dialogue between the employer and employee."

Olophius Perry, district director  for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, added, "We commend this employer  for resolving this case early and for taking steps to ensure that people with  disabilities are accommodated."

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at