Polly Neace had the same message for every customer at the Walton, Kentucky branch of U.S. Bank where she worked as a teller: “Have a blessed day,” she would say with a smile.
And so they fired her.
Neace, who had worked for U.S. Bank for more than twenty years, began offering her greeting in 2009. Bank officials claim that they had received customer complaints, and they had issued repeated warnings to Neace to avoid any mention of faith.
According to a report in Christian Today, Neace was first issued a warning and a Code of Ethics violation was placed in her file in 2011. The public notice read:
“Effective immediately you will no longer discuss the subject of faith or religion with customers and co-workers alike.”
But when a customer told Neace to have a blessed day, she responded, saying “Thank you. God bless you, too.” Shortly after that, following an incident at the bank, Neace joked with her supervisor, saying that she might as well start saying “have a blessed day” again. That, says U.S. Bank, was a violation of policy; and the following day, she was terminated.
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Neace has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Security Commission. Her attorney believes the bank’s policy is, in itself, a violation of her First Amendment rights.
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With regard to the termination, U.S. Bank has issued a statement which says:
“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 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.”
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I actually enjoy being served in a store or business establishment by a cheerful, faith-filled person.
But what do you think? Should employees be permitted to use a greeting such as Neace’s cheerful “Have a blessed day”? Or should that be prohibited?