How would you react if someone at a bank or store told you to ‘have a blessed day’ instead of saying ‘have a nice day?’
In 2009, someone told Polly Neace to ‘have a blessed day’ and she said it struck her as a nice thing to say. She told the media:
“I mean, in my opinion, I don’t think there’s any better day to have than a blessed day.”
Neace worked at a US Bank office in Walton, KY, about 5 miles south of where I live. For over two years, she has wished bank customers to have a blessed day without incident. As far as Neace knows, no one has ever complained about her salutation, but US Bank management says that they asked her to stop wishing customers to have a blessed day.
But after working at the bank for 24 years, Neace was fired for saying the four simple words ‘have a blessed day.’ Neace has filed a lawsuit against US Bank for wrongful termination.
Neace and her attorney Jeff Blankenship were interviewed by Anna Kooiman on Fox News: Fox and Friends. The interview went as follows:
Kooiman: Have the PC Police gone too far this time? A former Kentucky bank teller claims she was fired simply for telling customers to have a blessed day and now she’s fighting back with a lawsuit against the bank. Polly Neace and her attorney Jeff Blankenship join us now…Polly, let’s start with you. You’d been working at US Bank for nearly two and half decades and you say that it’s normal for you to say have a blessed day. I know from growing up in the south people say it on their voice mails all the time. Hey call me back, have a blessed day. But you got fired for it. Set us up. Tell us what happened.
Kooiman: It was about in 2009, somebody had said to me to have a blessed day and I thought what a wonderful thing to say to somebody. I mean in my opinion, I don’t think there’s any better day to have than a blessed day. So I started telling all of the customers.”
Kooiman: That was five years ago and then bring us to what happened More recently”
Neace: Well, more recently I was told that I was not allowed to tell customers to have a blessed day anymore and that there had been several complaints and I told them that I didn’t agree with that and that I’d been saying it for two years at that point without a complaint from anybody, management or anything and ultimately I was let go because of it.”
Kooiman: Ok, well this is a statement from US Bank saying: ‘At US Bank we hold our employees to high ethical standards when interacting with customers and co-workers, and take violations of these standards seriously…We believe that this lawsuit is without merit and believe the facts presented in future legal proceeding will justify our actions.’
Kooiman: How do you respond to that? What do you think about what the bank has to say?
Blankenship: Well, I’m not surprised that’s what they would say. I would kind of expect them to deny that. I’ve never represented someone in a case where the defendant admitted that we were right. In fact, the matter is, here’s what the proof has shown so far. The proof in the record has shown that Polly was discharged because she insisted on the right to say have a blessed day. After she was initially written up for doing so, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Several months later she quit saying it, she quit telling people to have a blessed day, but she complained about it several months later and said I might as well go back and tell people to have a blessed day. The very next day she was terminated.
Kooiman: It does seem wild. There are reports to though Polly, that you mentioned to a client coming through the bank something about their, um, what they believe in their salvation and asked that they used the Lord’s name in vain and that possibly you were pushing your religion on them and they have a problem with that and you say?
Neace: Well, there was a situation that arose with a customer who did take the Lord’s name in vain and I asked him not to do that and that was the worst thing my ears could hear and that it went straight to my heart but the customer was not offended by that. As a matter of fact he told me have a blessed weekend before he left.
Blankenship: Well, I think it’s important, I think it’s important that you know that that statement, that incident had nothing to do with her termination. Her termination occurred months later when she insisted on being allowed to say have a blessed day. The next day is when she was terminated. That incident is a red herring and has nothing to do with it.
So when’s the last time you heard of an employee being reprimanded and then terminated for being kind to customers? Besides, saying have a blessed day could come from a number of different religions, so she wasn’t directly promoting Christianity. Neace didn’t swear at the customers nor was she rude or ill mannered.
Chances are someone at the bank is not a Christian and took her kind words as a personal affront and complained to the management and like in most cases around the US, Neace was stripped of her First Amendment and Christian rights in favor of one or two lost souls. How many times are we going to put up with losing our rights because of a small whiney intolerant minority?
I have an account at US Bank, but am seriously considering moving it to a bank that hasn’t trampled on the rights of their employees. If any of you have accounts with US Bank, I would urge you to consider moving it to another bank that is more tolerant of their employee rights.
Sometimes I visit a butcher shop in Walton and the next time I do, I’ll make it a point to stop in at the Walton branch of the US Bank and wish them all a blessed day.