U.S. Supreme Court turns away religious bias claim against Walgreens

By Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to Walgreens, turning away an appeal by a fired former Florida employee of the pharmacy chain who asked not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The justices declined to review a lower court ruling in Darrell Patterson’s religious discrimination lawsuit that concluded that his demand to never work on Saturday, observed as the Sabbath by Seventh-day Adventists, placed an undue hardship on Walgreens.

Patterson, who had trained customer service representatives at a Walgreens call center in Orlando, was fired in 2011 after failing to show up for work on a Saturday for an urgent training session.

The case tested the allowances companies must make for employees for religious reasons to comply with a federal anti-discrimination law called Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Under Title VII, employers must “reasonably accommodate” workers’ religious practices unless that would cause the company “undue hardship.”

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

CDC warns residents in eight U.S. states of cut-fruit Salmonella outbreak

Under a very high magnification of 12000X, this colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a large grouping of Gram-negative Salmonella bacteria. REUTERS/Janice Haney Carr/CDC/Handout

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sunday urged residents of eight U.S. states to check for recalled pre-cut melon that is linked to an outbreak of Salmonella.

The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control are investigating an outbreak linked to 60 illnesses and at least 31 hospitalizations in five states. No deaths have been reported and the agencies urged residents in the eight states to throw out any melon that may have been recalled.

On Friday, Caito Foods LLC, a unit of SpartanNash Co, recalled fresh-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and fresh-cut mixed fruit products containing one of those melons produced at a Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis.

The recalled products were distributed to Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio and sold in clear, plastic containers at stores including Costco Wholesale Corp, Kroger Co, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart Inc, and Whole Foods, a unit of Amazon.com Inc.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a Twitter post late on Sunday urged people in the eight states to check the “fridge and freezer for recalled pre-cut melon linked to Salmonella outbreak.”

Of the 60 cases reported to date, 32 were reported in Michigan.

“Reports of illnesses linked to these products are under investigation, and Caito Foods is voluntarily recalling the products out of an abundance of caution,” the company said in a statement, adding it “has ceased producing and distributing these products as the company and FDA continue their investigation.”

Salmonella can result in serious illness and produce significant and potentially fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems the company said.

The CDC said evidence suggested that melon supplied by Caito Foods “is a likely source of this multistate outbreak.”

The investigation is ongoing to determine if products went to additional stores or states, the agencies said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Tribute To Cop Killer Created Outside Shooting Site

A makeshift tribute to a man who waited in ambush at a Walgreens in Jersey City, New Jersey to kill police officers is being called “tasteless” by Jersey City officials.

Lawrence Campbell, 27, walked into a Walgreens store and took the gun from a security guard.  He told people in the store to leave and watch television because he was “going to be famous.”  He then ambushed and killed a rookie officer before being shot by other police.

Now, neighborhood residents have set up a shrine to the cop killer outside the store, with messages like “see U on the other side” and “Thug in peace.”

Even the widow of the killer is showing little remorse for the incident, telling News 12 New Jersey that while she was sorry for the family of the slain officer, if her husband was going to be killed he should have killed more police officers before he died.

Jersey City officials condemned the display and tried to say it’s not representative of the neighborhood.

“I firmly believe that the people who made the ignorant comments on the TV and the people who put up a memorial to a cowardly murderer who shot somebody in the head without giving him a chance are not representative of the people who live up there,” Police Director James Shea said.

Officer Melvin Santiago, 23, graduated the police academy in December.  He will be laid to rest on Friday.

Walgreens Employee Refuses To Print Bible Verses

A woman who ordered two prints online of Bible verses for her Bible study from her local Walgreens was told she couldn’t print them because Bible verses violated copyright law.

After a clerk told Kelly Taylor that they would not print her order, she received an e-mail that told her to contact a photo team associate.  When she called the number, she was told that printing Scripture violated copyright law.

She was given prints of the Bible verses after Fox News obtained copies of the e-mails between Taylor and store officials and provided them to Walgreens’ corporate offices.

A Walgreens spokesman then sent a statement to Fox News that the employee who rejected the printing of the verses was not acting on behalf of the company.

He went on to say the employee may have had concerns that graphic designs behind the verses could fall under copyright protection and that the whole situation could be resolved by Taylor signing a waiver of copyright law.

Taylor said she hopes the incident will be a teachable moment for Walgreens and that in the future Christians won’t be denied the opportunity to print Scripture verses.