Blessing or curse: Bank teller lawsuit says she was fired for saying 'Have a blessed day'
WALTON, KY (FOX19) - A former Northern Kentucky bank teller claims she was fired from her job for telling customer to "Have a blessed day."
"I say 'have a blessed day' all of the time," says Polly Neace. "I don't think there's any better kind of day you can have than a blessed day."
Neace filed a lawsuit against U.S. Bank claiming she was discriminated against for her religious beliefs.
Neace clams after years of saying "Have a blessed day" to customers, she was reprimanded in March 2011.
In a Code of Ethics violation, US Bank states several customers complained when Neace said, "Have a blessed day."
The written warning also states that Neace asked a customer, "Did you take the Lord's name in vain?" and then proceeded to talk to that customer about salvation.
FOX19 legal analyst Mike Allen says Neace may have crossed a legal line.
"Where you actually go and take a step further and actually perhaps try to convert or persuade someone to your religious beliefs, that's where an employer can step in and take action," Allen says.
That Code of Ethics Violation warns Neace that "effective immediately you will no longer discuss the subject of faith or religion with customers and co-workers alike."
"I was upset with the fact they were stifling me and not allowing me to act on my beliefs," Neace says.
Neace admits she was reprimanded again a few months later.
"A customer went through the drive thru and I waited on them. She said, 'God bless you.' I said, 'Thank you, God bless you too," says Neace.
And then, after complaining about a situation at the bank, Neace claims she jokingly told a manager she might as well go back to saying, "Have a blessed day" and be fired.
The next day, Neace was fired.
She later filed the lawsuit against U.S. Bank.
"I can't back down from this. It's the principle behind everything," says Neace.
In a statement, U.S. Bank says that "At U.S. Bank, we hold our employees to high ethical standards when interacting with customers and co-workers, and take violations of these standards seriously. While we cannot comment provide comment on pending litigation, we believe that this lawsuit is without merit and believe the facts presented in future legal proceedings will justify our actions."
U.S. Bank also says the lawsuit is without merit.
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