CVS Policy Attempts to Impact Employees’ Rights to File State and Federal Class Action Lawsuits
WESTBURY, NY — Anthony Tristano, an award-winning former Supervising Pharmacist who worked for CVS for more than 20 years, says that all employees undergoing LEARNet training must be made aware of how the company’s recent change in its work policy may deprive them of their rights.
CVS Health announced its new CVS Health Arbitration of Workplace Legal Disputes Policy last month in a manner that created an uproar within the ranks of Pharmacists, Pharmacy Interns, Pharmacy Techs and front-store employees.
The policy asks employees to preemptively give up their rights and to commit, as CVS notes at the bottom of page 6, “not just to go to arbitration instead of court, but to go to arbitration as a single individual party (where the focus will be on your claim) and not as part of a class or collective or representative action.” In other words, if an employee has a complaint with CVS, they must go it alone, in private arbitration, and they may not seek to recover for anyone else. This is supposed to form a mutually binding contract between CVS Health and its employees.
CVS Health just rolled this new policy out, with existing cases pending in multiple states by current and former CVS employees who are seeking to publicly protect the rights of their colleagues on a class-wide basis.
Disturbingly, CVS delivered this CVS Health Colleague Guide To Arbitration (Course # 800305) as a “training module” over LEARNet. The training module includes a Click Yes button, but no Click No button. Instead, employees who want to opt out must send a letter to a P.O. Box in Rhode Island stating their desire to opt out. Mr. Tristano urges all employees to read through the agreement carefully and understand that choosing to click the “yes” button may put them at a future disadvantage, should they find themselves in legal disagreements with the pharmacy.
In addition, Mr. Tristano worries that too many employees will click the button out of habit, with no idea what they have agreed to. “I am deeply disturbed by what CVS is doing here, personally and professionally. This change in policy is intended to lead thousands of Long Island employees and hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide down ‘alternative pathways’ where rights provided to them may be compromised,” Mr. Tristano says. “It is being presented to the mass of employees through the same routine courses, and I suspect that few comprehend the impact this has on their rights.”
Mr. Tristano urges all CVS employees to “write the letter to protect themselves” and offers his personal attention to any pharmacists who want to learn more about the rights they should be fighting for.
Mr. Tristano is represented by attorneys Neil H. Greenberg (http://newyorkovertimelaw.com/) and Philip J. Gordon (http://gordonllp.com/). “Employers such as CVS have tremendous leverage over their employees, who should never be stripped of their legal rights like this,” explained Mr. Greenberg.
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