The story of a Kentucky woman who claims she was fired from her job as a bank teller for saying “have a blessed day” to customers struck a nerve with News 2’s Facebook fans.
Polly Nease said she was fired from her job with US Bank after customers complained that she told them to “have a blessed day.”
The bank responded that it had reprimanded Nease as far back as 2011 for sharing her faith while on the job.
Less than 12 hours after posting the story on News 2’s Facebook page, the story had reached nearly 64,000 people, received 532 likes, 494 comments and shared another 126 times.
Many Facebook friends defended Nease’s right to free speech, while others responded that she simply wasn’t following the rules set out by her employer.
News 2 took the questions to Ken Paulson, president of The First Amendment Center.
“The First Amendment is not involved,” Paulson said. “You don’t have a constitutional right to say whatever ou want in the workplace if you’re accepting somebody else’s paycheck.”
Nease contacted an attorney and said she will file a lawsuit against US Bank claiming she was discriminated against for exercising her religious freedoms.
Paulson told News 2 her claim would have standing if the government was involved, but it isn’t.
“Whether it is religious or not isn’t as important as whether the employer has set out guidelines. They’re basically saying, ‘You want to come to work for us, here is our policy,'” he said, adding, “If you disagree with that policy, you can decide to change banks and if you’re an employee who disagrees with that policy, you can decide to change employers.”