Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Nov. 18, 2017

The exemptions for pharmacists under the current Employment Standards Act should absolutely be abolished. Working in big chain stores, I have experienced the worst treatment as unscrupulous employers took full advantage of the fact that they were not required to give me any breaks or pauses for lunch, overtime, and even paid holidays. It made me feel like I was being treated like a non-human, and absolutely is not fair as I am not a robot and need proper breaks and a chance to eat, go to the bathroom and refresh my mind every bit as much as my assistants or the cashiers do. There is absolutely no reason why pharmacists should be exempt. Allowing us fair treatment and breaks doesn’t translate into worse patient outcomes such as breaking in the middle of surgery or making someone wait while they are bleeding out. We are not working in that kind of emergency environment...An employer tried to justify the exemptions to me before by saying that doctors and nurses are also exempt. And when we are dealing with busy stressful periods, we are professionals and know when it is not appropriate to take breaks. And also, many of the exempted professionals do still get breaks or work for themselves or in their own practices where they can decide if and when they take a break. But pharmacists in many cases in big box stores have to swipe in and swipe out on the time clock just like everyone else at the start and end of shift. We’re just expected to be “on” at all times during the shift. And in our industry, there are many, many employers who take full advantage of that. We should be protected from this abuse. For our sanity and health, for patient safety to reduce the likelihood of us making mistakes, and for equal rights, we should absolutely not be exempt from these employment standards.

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