Gunna Kristofersdottir holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Iceland and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Nevada. For over 20 years she has worked as a nurse practitioner for both the United States Air Force and Navy as well as in clinics in Georgia and Oklahoma. In 2014, CVS hired Gunna as a nurse practitioner for their Minute Clinic in Tequesta, Florida. From the very beginning of her employment Gunna explained her religious objections to prescribing hormonal contraceptives and CVS honored her objection.  Her manager worked with her to comply with her religious beliefs while at the same time provided solutions to meet customers’ needs.

In all those rare occasions she was asked, Gunna referred the customer to the another nurse practitioner or a nearby Minute Clinic that could fulfill the request—a common practice by Minute Clinic nurse practitioners.

But in 2021 CVS announced a nationwide policy that “treatment for pregnancy prevention must be offered by every provider and nurse without exception,” and that it would end referrals for such requests. Shortly thereafter, Gunna was told that CVS would no longer honor Gunna’s religious accommodation regarding hormonal contraceptives. Gunna was given two weeks to affirm that she would comply with the policy or her employment would be terminated. Even after suggesting alternative options to satisfy her religious accommodation, she was fired from her position at CVS after years of excellent performance reviews and high praise from her customers.

In 2023, First Liberty received a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC on the basis of discrimination.

In January 2024, First Liberty and the law firms Boyden Gray & Associates  and Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC, filed a federal lawsuit against CVS Health on behalf of Gunna

“After accommodating Gunna for several years, CVS fired her because it simply did not like her religious beliefs,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “It is illegal to issue a blanket revocation of all religious accommodations when CVS can accommodate its employees. CVS is sending a message that religious health care workers are not welcome and need not apply.”

“Our employment laws protect religious freedom in the workplace,” added Jonathan Berry, Managing Partner at Boyden Gray PLLC and former head of rulemaking at the U.S. Department of Labor. “No one should have to choose between her faith and her job, especially where it would be easy to continue a longstanding religious accommodation.”

News Release
 For Immediate Release: 1.23.24
Contact: John Manning, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

 

Another Nurse Practitioner Sues CVS Health for Denying Religious Accommodation for Prescribing Contraception

After more than seven years, CVS Health suddenly revoked religious accommodation for nurse practitioner.

Washington, DC—First Liberty Institute, the law firm Boyden Gray & Associates, and the law firm Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC, filed a federal lawsuit against CVS Health on behalf of Gunna Kristofersdottir, a nurse practitioner in Florida.  CVS terminated Kristofersdottir’s employment, revoking a longstanding religious accommodation because of her Catholic beliefs about hormonal contraceptives.

The complaint is available here.

“After accommodating Gunna for several years, CVS fired her because it simply did not like her religious beliefs,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “It is illegal to issue a blanket revocation of all religious accommodations when CVS can accommodate its employees. CVS is sending a message that religious health care workers are not welcome and need not apply.”

“Our employment laws protect religious freedom in the workplace,” added Jonathan Berry, Managing Partner at Boyden Gray PLLC and former head of rulemaking at the U.S. Department of Labor. “No one should have to choose between her faith and her job, especially where it would be easy to continue a longstanding religious accommodation.”

Gunna Kristofersdottir, a nurse practitioner employed by a CVS MinuteClinic in Tequesta, Florida, was granted a religious accommodation from prescribing contraception from 2014 to 2022.  On the rare occasion a patient asked for such a prescription, she referred them to another CVS MinuteClinic provider who satisfied the request.  In August 2021, CVS abruptly announced that it was revoking all religious accommodations that allowed providers to refrain from prescribing these drugs.

Ms. Kristofersdottir has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Iceland and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Nevada. She has worked for over 20 years as a nurse practitioner. Prior to working for CVS, Ms. Kristofersdottir worked as a nurse practitioner for both the United States Air Force and Navy as well as for clinics located in Georgia and Oklahoma.

In the complaint attorneys state, “CVS could have accommodated Ms. Kristofersdottir in several ways, including by transferring her to a virtual position, a larger clinic, an education or training position, or a location specializing in COVID-19, or continuing to honor the religious accommodation that worked successfully for years. CVS’s policy of preemptively denying all such requests regardless of individual circumstances is unlawful and has a disparate impact on its employees on the basis of religion.”

In January 2023, First Liberty and Boyden Gray filed a similar federal lawsuit against CVS Health on behalf of Robyn Strader, a nurse practitioner in Texas.

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About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.
To arrange an interview, contact John Manning at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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