Haddad v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Here, the plaintiff worked as a staff pharmacist for the defendant for ten years.   At a subsequent point, she became temporary pharmacy manager.  Until the plaintiff was terminated thirteen months later, she was paid at a lower rate as a pharmacy manager than her male counterparts.  She was told by the defendant that she would receive the difference in pay but never did.  She complained numerous times and finally received a check for the pharmacy manager bonus that others received, but never received the thirteen months’ worth of additional pay.  Prior to her termination, the plaintiff was questioned about two prescriptions that were fraudulently written—one while she was on duty and the other was written while a male pharmacist was on duty.  The pharmacy technician immediately admitted that she falsified the prescription from when the plaintiff was on duty.  The plaintiff denied knowledge of the fraud, but she was terminated based on her failure to secure the pharmacy.  The pharmacy technician was also terminated. The male pharmacist however was not fired or disciplined for failing to secure the pharmacy area.  At the time of the plaintiff’s termination, twenty of the twenty-one managers above the pharmacy manager level were male and all pharmacy technicians were female.  The court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that the defendant discriminated against the plaintiff in terminating her.  The court reasoned that a reasonable jury could have disbelieved the defendant’s reason for terminating the plaintiff; that the plaintiff’s base wage was lower than her male counterparts, and that there was discrimination based upon the fact that the male pharmacist on duty when another prescription was falsified was not disciplined or terminated.  The court found an award of compensatory damages was supported by the evidence, but that punitive damages amounting to $1 million were not warranted because the defendant’s conduct was not so outrageous or egregious.




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Avon Center work product