Key performance metrics and age discrimination in pharmacy

November 22, 2015

Since age discrimination is illegal, managers are going to look for a workaround. That's where key performance metrics come in.

Eddie 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.

 

Answer me this

In a court of law, what is it called when a witness, sworn to tell the truth, intentionally lies on the witness stand against his fellow man?

It’s called perjury

Perjury is considered a serious offense; it can be used to usurp the power of the courts, resulting in miscarriages of justice. In the United States, for example, the general perjury statute under federal law classifies perjury as a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to five years.

Well then. If a pharmacy or district or regional manager includes baseless claims in a write-up, makes false accusations, or colludes with other managers or personnel in order to get rid of a pharmacist who is considered too old, why should that manager be treated any differently from the way a judge would treat a perjurer in a court of law?

Tampering with livelihood

Under honest management, the performance of older pharmacists would be evaluated on the basis of their actual work, not on fabricated accusations. I could tell you story after story of how dishonest managers have ruined the lives and tampered with the livelihoods of pharmacists and their families - and more of these stories come to light every day.

Managers keep saying you don't need to join a union to be heard - sound familiar? But after 20 years of hearing the same thing over and over again, I believe that what is going on is obvious. And I believe that if you want to be heard and you want to receive fair treatment, unionization is the only way.

To the younger pharmacist, a word to the wise: I hope you don’t wind up in the same situation your older colleagues find themselves in today. You too should join a union.

Eddie Morales is leading the charge to unionize in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. To learn about unionization initiatives and activities in other states, contact him at edmrph@hotmail.com. For more information, go towww.cvsworker.com.