Berkshire County resident sues Vermont company for wrongful termination

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BENNINGTON, VT., >> A former employee is suing The Pharmacy, and it's parent company, Apothecary Management LLC, for what he alleges was a case of wrongful termination.

David J. Little, of New Ashford, Mass. was an employee of The Pharmacy from Aug. 25, 2009 until Nov. 7 of last year, when his employment was terminated by Phillip J. O'Neill, president and a director of the Pharmacy. According to O'Neill, Little was fired for violating a policy forbidding employees to utilize Pharmacy internet for personal use.

However, Little alleges he was fired for requesting time off to attend health care provider appointments with his wife, who was undergoing care for cancer.

According the complaint filed by Stitzel, Page, and Fletcher, Little, who was a pharmacist and operations manager at the time of his termination, "advised Mr. O'Neill of his desire to take leave from work to attend health care provider appointments for Mr. Little's wife who was undergoing health care for cancer. In response to Mr. Little's notification of his desire... Mr. O'Neill indicated that he expected Mr. Little to 'make-up' days missed from work for such appointments." Little contends that other employees used the internet for personal reasons and were not disciplined, and that his firing was retaliation for his September request.

Little also claims that the Pharmacy promised all employees that, in the absence of criminal activity, violations of company policy would be subjected to progressive discipline. "By discharging Mr. Little from employment for an alleged violation of a company internet use policy without first subjecting him to progressive discipline short of discharge from employment," read the court documents, "Pharmacy breached the express promise to employee progressive discipline."

In the civil suit, Little is seeking redress on 14 counts related to his termination, against The Pharmacy, Apothecary, and O'Neill. He is seeking compensation based on lost wages, including both "back pay" and "front pay," along with benefits, punitive damages, liquidated damages, double unpaid compensation, and attorney fees.

The Pharmacy, located on North Street, offers, "medical supplies, orthopedic supports, veterinary products, and compounding solutions," according to its website, "On top of the products that we offer, our pharmacists provide personalized services. Your needs and special conditions will always be taken into consideration when we dispense your medication to you. If needed, we can coordinate with your physician to clarify dosages, compounding instructions and intake schedules. You are assured of getting appropriate and safe combination of drugs and other pills."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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