Freedom of conscience, employee prerogatives, and consumer choice: Veal, birth control, and tanning beds

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History and Philosophy


Does a pharmacist have a right to refuse to fill certain prescriptions? In this paper, I examine cases in which an employee might refuse to do something that is part of his or her job description. I will argue that in some of these cases, an employee does have a right of refusal and in other cases an employee does not. In those cases where the employee does not have a right of refusal, I argue that the refusals (if repeated) are just cause for termination of employment. I argue that there are moral principles that support the different outcomes in the cases under consideration. I turn to pharmacy cases at the end of the paper and argue that they are analogous to cases where an employee does not have a right of refusal and thus fall under the principle that refusing to fill birth control prescriptions constitutes just cause for termination.

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