A pharmacist who worked for London Drugs for more than 16 years is suing her former employer for dismissing her when she chose not to receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The statement of claim, filed Jan. 28 at BC Supreme Court in Vancouver, alleges that Lina Reid, 60, was wrongfully dismissed.
London Drugs announced in August that it was bringing in a mandatory vaccination policy effective Nov. 1, 2021.
In her statement of claim, Reid said London Drugs provided her with the company’s vaccination, testing and records policy which outlined the Nov. 1 requirement, with the alternative option to be tested for COVID-19 and “any further measures determined necessary.” London Drugs noted that the testing could be at Reid’s expense.
Reid was placed on unpaid leave as of Nov. 1 for an “undetermined amount of time” because she was not fully vaccinated and did not submit to COVID testing.
The former employee stated that there was “no explicit or implicit agreement or term of employment” between herself and London Drugs that she undergo a “medical procedure” or be placed on an unpaid leave.
Reid claimed that being put on unpaid leave was tantamount to a constructive dismissal because of the “fundamental and unilateral” changes made by London Drugs to the terms of her employment.
She added that she had been able to “operate safely” by following public health guidelines including masking, social distancing, contact tracing and health questionnaires.
“The plaintiff specifically pleads that the unilateral decision to now require vaccines and testing could not have been a bonafide occupation requirement as the defendant has repeatedly demonstrated that it can safely operate without such a requirement,” court documents stated.
“This point is further underscored by the fact that the British Columbia government has specifically chosen not to impose a vaccine mandate on the defendant or the general population.”
Reid said that she was not provided any notice of termination or pay in lieu. Reid said that in her role as a staff pharmacist she was being paid $83,460 annually, received benefits, was part of the company’s pension plan, had an annual “pay for performance” bonus and five weeks of paid vacation.
In her statement of claim, Reid said she is seeking damages for wrongful dismissal equivalent to 18 months of notice, special damages for out-of-pocket expenses she incurred while attempting to find alternate, comparable employment, pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, court costs and any other relief allowed by the judge.
In a statement to Black Press Media, London Drugs said that they were unable to comment on this specific case.
“London Drugs has numerous policies and procedures in place intended to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers. All employees, including pharmacists, are currently required to show evidence of full vaccination or demonstrate negative COVID status through ongoing screening,” the company stated.
“We are confident our health and safety measures are appropriate , justified and strike a fair and measured balance protecting the rights of our employees and creating a safe work and retail environment for all. London Drugs is confident its workplace safety policies would be upheld in any court proceedings. We will be filing a response to this claim in due course.”
None of Reid’s claims have been proven in court.