Bank teller fired for telling customers to 'have a blessed day'


A former bank teller based in Kentucky has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Bank after being fired for telling customers to “have a blessed day.”

Yet another violation of our First Amendment freedoms! :mad:


The 1st Amendment has nothing to do with it, employers have a right to regulate employee’s speech and behavior.

Polly Neace was fired after repeated warnings, and accusations of customer complaints. The bank also said that Neace talked to a customer about salvation. Neace maintains that no customers complained.

The former Walton branch employee had worked for the bank for over 20 years. She said that she started saying “have a blessed day” to all of her customers beginning in 2009.

So she’s been doing this for four years and been warned several times. She gets no sympathy from me.
Let her proselytize on her own time.


She has every right to tell someone to “have a blessed day” if she wants to. It is a violation of the First Amendment.


At will employee…


I agree saying ‘blessed day’ is pretty innocuous - it could come from any religion or even just be seen as a form of well-wishing.

On the other hand, if she was actually trying to proselytize the customers then that is inappropriate.


Not if she is on the company’s time, in the company’s workplace, representing the company and has been warned not to engage in that behavior. Also, if it is a policy of the company that employees should not engage in religious discussions or speech with colleagues/employees then she was treated just like any employee who has received warnings not to engage in this behavior.

The first amendment does not protect you at work and does not guarantee you will be protected from consequences in the private sector.

She could have quit her job when she first received the warnings but CHOSE not to leave her job. That was her choice and she has to live with the consequences.

As other have said, she receives no sympathy from me.


It’s not a First Amendment violation. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessarily questionable. She supposedly stopped. Frankly it’s a “he said, she said”, that will be hard to decide, but will probably go in favor of the defendant for that very reason.


If she was asked to stop saying it, she should have stopped.

However, why are people so sensitive about people saying something like “have a blessed day”. If you don’t like it, fine. Just smile or nod and go about your business. Why complain about it? Any little offense becomes a media event.


I agree with this post, but I wish it were equally applied by the media to both issues like this and to “Happy Holidays.” I’m so tired, every December, of hearing how attempting to respect Jews and other non-Christians is a violation of the First Amendment. This isn’t directed at you; it’s just your post reminded me of the frustration I feel every year.


It became a media event when the woman who was fired and her lawyer had a news conference.


I get what you mean. I think the reaction to saying “Happy Holidays” gets blown out of proportion, too. Trying to be respectful of others isn’t something over which people should be upset. But at the same time, every once in a while, I do find myself saying “Merry Christmas” to people at that time of year, but it’s not meant to be in anyway disrespectful or offensive. It’s what I’m accustomed to saying, so I would hope that people would take it in the spirit in which it was intended.




I worked for a company that had a policy of what we must say to a customer upon the end of a transaction and if we did not we got “dinged” for not following policy.

This is just the flip side of that. Companies do have the right to do this. This does not mean the employee cannot, off the clock say whatever they want to whom ever they want, but when they are on the clock a number of rules and expectations apply.

Not sure how she expects to sue because her company had expectations of how to end a transaction. If they followed proper procedure in warning her, reprimanding her, terminating her, according to stated company rules (in her employee handbook) then she has no case.

She was not fired for saying “have a blessed day” she was fired for not following company policy.


Wow, talk about reaching for excuses to fire someone. Let’s see, she was an employee for 20 years? Guess that took care of her retirement for them.

This stuff is going too far. Bet they would not have fired her for telling someone to “bug off.” Maybe she was not prone to kissing hind end either.


If someone told customers to bug off, was warned over the issue multiple times, and continued to tell customers to bug off, they would most certainly be fired.


Again, if she was warned about her behavior and actions and knew the consequences and did not follow company policy she knew what would happen. She made a choice.


Occasionally I’ll say to have a blessed day instead of have a good day without thinking. I’m hoping that’s not the case here. It would be a shame to be fired for what is a slip of the tongue! I get that this happened multiple times so it was unlikely.

I wonder how the person who got the teller feels? I can’t imagine complaining about an equivalent occurrence, but if I did I’d feel pretty awful if it got them fired.



Agree, she was warned. She chose to continue to do so. The consequences are of her own making.


I would be willing to wager that there’s a lot more to the story than what the article reports.


Although I disagree with the bank, it did not violate the 1st Amendment. That applies only to governmental action. BUT as an attorney, I would try to argue that the bank is FDIC insured, therefore establishing a federal tie-in. Don’t know if I’d win, though.

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