Letter to the editor: Questions morals of big company

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I have been a CVS employee for 24 years. I started when I was in high school and have always had a fairly flexible schedule. As things in my life changed-school, marriage, children, starting my own business, etc.-so have my hours. CVS has always worked with me, even if it meant I needed to work in more than one store to get the hours I needed.

In April of 2007, while working full-time at CVS in Prospect and also opening my own pet sitting business, I was injured in a car accident. I was out of CVS for quite some time, and was only allowed to return part-time in four-hour shift intervals. My doctor gave me an 8 percent disability rate and stated I would probably need injections and pain management in the future. Due to chronic back pain I had dwindled myself down to one day per week. The constant standing, bending and twisting was too excruciating to do much more than that.

In August of 2010, there were some staff changes and I was asked to return full-time Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning in September. I declined the full-time hours, but said I would give three days per week a try and if it worked out I could always pick up more shifts. So, I began doing 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

On Dec. 6, I was called into the office to discuss my hours. I was told my shift was no longer available. They offered me some five to six hour shifts, which I cannot medically do. They offered me some evening shifts, but by that time of day back is at its worst and I don’t feel I’d be able to physically handle the demand. A 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift was mentioned, but I was told I could no longer work one day per week. I was dismissed not only for the day, but for the rest of the week. They brought my belongings to the office for me. I was not allowed to return to the pharmacy. CVS also states that I quit, due to inability to conform to the new job description.

Our pharmacy manager has been out on leave since September. Our other pharmacist transferred quite suddenly to another store.

An intern had been placed in our store, and she has been supposedly following orders of our district manager. Once all the regular pharmacists were gone, she started firing people. Our store is considered a “Store of Excellence.” We have an excellent crew that feels more like family than co-workers.

I called the Labor Board and was told any employer may fire any employee with no warning in the state of Connecticut. I called unemployment, but I am ineligible due to the fact that I own my own business. I emailed CVS ethics, and they have failed to respond. I have asked for a written job description, but have not received one yet. Other employees are being fired due to the fact that they can only work weekends. Full-time employees are now required to work one night and one weekend. If CVS has changed their policy for both full-time and part-time employees, shouldn’t something be written and handed out?

In my 24 years I have always received excellent reviews. I cannot remember any instances where I have been written up for anything or given any verbal warnings.

I wasn’t given a list of different shifts and asked to go over it and see what I can do. I was basically treated like a criminal.

My husband lost all of his overtime, which he had been receiving for over 17 years. My business has been slow due to the economy.

All I was trying to do was pick up extra CVS hours to support my family. I just can’t believe there’s nothing I can do. If I try to get a part-time job with another pharmacy I will probably be started back at minimum wage. This will not help my family.

I thought it important for people to know what these big companies are doing to their dedicated employees.

Vickie Nolan
Naugatuck
Former CVS employee in Prospect