Defeating a Race, National Origin Discrimination Claim Against a Drugstore Chain Client

December 16, 2019

Epstein Becker Green achieved a victory for a drugstore chain client against a claim that the client engaged in race or national origin discrimination against one of its customers.

The matter began on November 29, 2017, when a Cuban customer (“Complainant”) went to one of our client’s stores to pick up his prescription for a three-month supply of medication that he needed for travel to Cuba. He claimed that he was told that his prescription was not ready and was asked where he was travelling. The Complainant alleged that he tried to pick up the prescription on December 4, 2017, but it was still not ready. He also alleged that he was informed that his prescription was ready for pickup on December 6, 2017, which was too late for him to catch his flight. 

On December 11, 2017, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the Department of Health and Human Services commenced an investigation of our client under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, both of which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race or national origin. The investigation was conducted in response to the Complainant’s complaint, which alleged that our client engaged in unlawful discrimination based on race or national origin when our client failed to fill the Complainant’s prescription.

Epstein Becker Green assisted our client in challenging the complaint. We submitted evidence that the Complainant’s prescription was ready for pickup on November 29, 2017, and that he received notification texts that his prescription was ready for pickup on December 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, and 13, 2017. 

On December 19, 2018, OCR issued a letter opinion rejecting the Complainant’s allegations and holding that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the Complainant’s allegation that our client discriminated against him on the basis of his race or national origin. Accordingly, OCR closed the complaint.

The Epstein Becker Green team was led byPatrick G. Brady.