The company said it allows its employees to express religious objections, but that hasn’t stopped calls for a Walgreens boycott.
A pair of shoppers at a Walgreens in Wisconsin said an employee refused to sell condoms to them on religious grounds — something Walgreens said is permitted under its policies.
Nathan Pentz tweeted earlier this month that his partner, Jess, went to buy condoms at a store in Hayward because she forgot her birth control. He said when she went to the checkout, the cashier said he would not ring up the condoms, because of his faith.
Pentz also tweeted the couple’s customer service response to Walgreens, which said the employee “embarrass[ed] [her] in front of other customers because of her reproductive choices.”
In a statement to NBC News, a Walgreens spokesperson said its employee’s actions did not violate company policy.
“Our policies are designed to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and customers while respecting the religious and moral beliefs of our team members,” the spokesperson said. “The instances are rare, however when a team member has a moral or religious conviction about completing a transaction, they are required to refer the customer to another employee or manager on duty who will complete the transaction, which is what occurred in this instance.”
In the wake of the incident, at least one progressive outlet called for a boycott of the Illinois-based pharmacy.
Incidents of faith-based objections in business have received more attention in recent years. In the most prominent example, the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 in favor of a cake-maker who objected to baking a cake for a gay couple, though the court did not address the larger issue of whether businesses can refuse service outright on religious grounds.
In February, the court agreed to hear the case of a web design firm in Colorado that objected to providing services for same-sex marriages. That case will be heard in October.