Tag Archives: Walgreens

Walgreens Settles Federal Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Drugstore Walgreens has agreed to pay $180,000 to a long-time South San Francisco employee to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today.

The company fired Josefina Hernandez, who has Type II Diabetes, in 2008 after she ate a $1.39 bag of chips to stabilize her blood sugar level as she suffered a hypoglycemic attack, according to the EEOC.

Hernandez had worked for the company for 18 years.

Commission attorneys said Hernandez didn’t have any disciplinary record at work prior to the chips incident, and her employer knew she suffered from diabetes.

She was fired for eating the chips without paying for them.

A security officer, who questioned Hernandez about eating the chips before paying for them, testified he didn’t understand or ask for clarification from Hernandez when she responded to his query by writing “My sugar low. Not have time,” attorneys said.

Attorneys said Hernandez’s termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability.

Attorney William R. Tamayo, who is with the EEOC’s San Francisco region, said in a release the termination was not only harsh and unfair, but it was also illegal.

“People may think this case revolves around theft, but the real issue is how a company responded to a valued 18-year employee, whom it knew for 13 years to be diabetic, and who attempted to pay for the chips after she recovered from her hypoglycemic attack,” Tamayo said.

In addition to paying Hernandez the $180,000 settlement, Walgreens will post its revised policy regarding accommodation of disabled employees on its employee intranet site, provide anti-discrimination training, make periodic reports to the EEOC and post a notice regarding the decree for three years.

Dennis Culver, Bay City News

Local Food Distributor Might Be Behind E. Coli Outbreak At Trader Joe’s

A Richmond-based food distributor on Sunday recalled about 181,620 pounds of prepared salads and sandwich wraps that were sold at stores such as Trader Joe’s and Walgreens in the past few months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Sunday that many of Glass Onion Catering products that were produced between Sept. 23 and Nov. 6 and made with fully-cooked chicken and ham were possibly contaminated with a strain of E. coli.

The products were distributed to retail locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Some of the products that were sold at Trader Joe’s locations include the grocer’s “Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grill Chicken” and “Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken.”

Trader Joe’s posted on its website Sunday that the supplier of some of their salads alerted the grocery store there was a possibility of E. coli in specified regions.

Trader Joe’s told customers full refunds were available for the salads with use-by dates between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15.

Other items made at the same Richmond facility under the label Atherstone Food, Inc. that were sold at Walgreens include Delish Greek Style Orzo Salad, Delish Asian Style Noodle Salad, and Delish Vegetarian Wrap.

At Whole Foods the Southwestern and Wheat Berry salad kits have been recalled.

A list of all 16 products being recalled is available at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

In connection with the recalled food items, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 26 people infected with a strain of E. coli, known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC.

Last week, the federal Food and Drug Administration notified the FSIS that illness had broken out in California after a cluster of patients had eaten pre-packaged salads with grilled chicken, which prompted a CDC investigation.

The outbreak, with 22 patients in California, one in Arizona and three in Washington, was traced back to Glass Onion Catering products.

Sixty-one percent of the patients are female. All of the patients became sick between Sept. 29 and Oct. 26.

Those who became sick range from 4 to 78 years old, with the median age 28 years old.

The bacteria can cause dehydration, cramps, bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which is a type of kidney failure. Most healthy adults can recover from the more milder symptoms within a week.

According to the CDC, six people have been hospitalized and two people have developed HUS. No deaths have been reported.
Those who have purchased the potentially contaminated items are advised to throw away or return the ready-to-eat salads and wraps.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Morning-After Birth Control Pill Now Available In Bay Area Store Aisles

The morning-after pill is now available in store aisles—no prescription or identification required.
The pill, Plan B-One Step, is an emergency contraceptive that the Food and Drug Administration has approved to be available to anyone as of today.

Before the FDA dropped restrictions in June, there were age limits and the drug was confined behind the counter where a pharmacist had to hand over the pill at a customer’s request.

Now customers, including those 17 years old and younger, can purchase the drug, and anyone can simply get it from a drugstore or store shelf.

Lupe Rodriguez, spokeswoman for San Jose-based Planned Parenthood Mar Monte region, expressed excitement about the changes that she says will expand access to this type of birth control.

“This will make it so much easier for young people, for all women, to go to a drugstore and pick it up as soon as they need,” she said.

She said before the restrictions were dropped there were barriers that prevented women and teens from using the drug during a useful period.

Detractors to the policy change have cited worries about young girls having access to the drug.

“Our thought is that young people are able to use this medication in a safe and responsible manner,” Rodriguez said.

The drug does not prevent STDs or abort a pregnancy.

The pill contains levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic hormone that helps prevent pregnancy. It is intended to be used within 72 hours after unprotected sex to be most effective.

It costs about $50, but it usually can be obtained at Planned Parenthood health centers with an appointment at no cost or on a sliding scale.

Walgreens stores have moved the product from behind the counter to shelves in the “family planning” aisle.

Store spokeswoman Emily Hartig said under the new guidelines, the product will be available over the counter in all its stores except in Oklahoma.

She said a state law there keeps Plan B in the pharmacy and women over 17 must have a prescription. It cannot be sold to customers under age 17 without a prescription.

The drug is available at other pharmacies in the Bay Area and elsewhere including CVS, Safeway and Costco pharmacies, and other independent retailers.

The pill is produced by Israel-based company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Smokin’ Fast: The Walgreens Workout, As Seen on the Internet


Casting about for a column idea that wasn’t about running for a change, my friend suggested that I go to Walgreens and write a review of some piece of “As Seen on TV” exercise equipment. Genius! The ubiquity of the drugstore chain in San Francisco means there’s hardly any distance at all between getting inspired while watching an infomercial from any given couch and instant Thighmaster gratification.

But when I visited my neighborhood Walgreens at 16th and Mission, the only things I could find in that section were two kinds of girdles and something for stretching shoes that don’t quite fit anymore. Not exactly the kind of “getting in shape” I was thinking of! (To be fair, they did carry the Biggest Loser Sculpt and Burn kit behind the counter.) But I still liked the quality of accessibility that the chain offers, and started wandering the aisles thinking of ways that a busy San Franciscan could put together a workout from items off the shelves — for less than the price of a monthly gym membership.


My first stop was the toy section, where you can find plenty of things to keep kids humming with high-fructose energy occupied. I can only hope the exercise potential of a basketball or dodgeball is pretty obvious. You can find pickup basketball at many of the free, public courts in the city, or join a dodgeball team in one of the two leagues organized by 4 Sheets Sports. But they can also be used in place of stability or medicine balls for a number of resistance exercises, like the ball pass crunch, balance pushups and the frog jump.


For the frog jump, place the ball on the floor in front of you and stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder distance apart, arms at your sides. Bend into a squat, dropping your hands between your knees to grab either side of the ball. Now push off with your legs into a jump while bringing the ball up and over your head. After landing, dip into another squat, place the ball back on the floor and return to standing. Two to four sets of ten should get your heart pumping and activate your quads, glutes and calves.

Now that your quads are burning, how about a nice massage? You can use a tennis ball or Pinky ball for self-massage. Lay down on the floor on one side and lift your upper body by balancing on your forearm. With your free hand, lift your hips a bit off the floor and place the ball between the floor and your outer thigh. Now drop your weight carefully onto the ball and use your shoulder and hips to roll back and forth, allowing the ball to massage your quadriceps.


You can also stand with your back to a wall, knees slightly bent, and place the ball between the wall and your upper back. Move up and down and side to side and adjust pressure to work out the knots in your shoulder. Or just grip the ball and squeeze in order to strengthen your forearms, a great exercise for anyone who works at a keyboard all day — or, you know, if you play racket sports.


At an actual hardware store, you can find almost everything you’d need to build yourself a real home gym! At a drug store hardware aisle, well, let’s keep our expectations realistic. For instance, you can use any kind of cordage for all kinds of stretches and exercises, including in place of a strap for yoga poses. I like the common 12 foot extension cords for being cheap, strong and generically useful to have around the house anyway. Adjust the length with a couple of folds at both ends and you have yourself a jump rope. It’s a great indoor cardiovascular exercise for people with tiny, expensive apartments! And it also helps with rhythmic timing and reflexes.


Anything elastic can be used in place of resistance bands for exercise, up to and including the aforementioned girdles! For instance, I use some light rubber resistance bands for physical therapy exercises for which I could substitute pantyhose. But as a substitute for stronger resistance bands, bungee cords work well as long as you take care to avoid the hooks.


To become a thigh master, try a seated abduction. Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your feet squarely on the floor about hip distance apart. With your knees together, wrap a bungee cord around your legs above the knee. Sitting up straight, with your arms relaxed at your sides or resting on your thighs, pull your knees apart, rolling the soles of your feet outwards as your lower leg passes perpendicular from the floor.


While the processed, packaged, shelf-stable staple probably isn’t great for your overall fitness if you eat it in large quantities, it can be useful in other ways. You might use canned goods in place of hand weights, but anything more than two pounds will probably be bigger than you can hold in your hand. But buy a bunch of canned food and spend ten cents each on a couple of the reusable plastic bags that are available at checkout, and you have yourself a basic dumbbell substitute to do all sorts of things with, like a basic bicep curl.


If you’re a crossfit enthusiast, pick up a water jug with a handle and you have yourself a kettle bell of sorts. While doing kettle bell swings indoors with a jug full of liquid probably isn’t the best idea, slower movements like the shoulder press shouldn’t be a problem. How do you know what kinds of weights you’re lifting? A gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds, so a pint can of beans weighs in at just under two pounds while a two liter bottle is about four.


So there you go, all sorts of options to work on your fitness in the comfort of your own home with equipment from a few blocks away — and all for less than the low, low price of $19.99!