WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An employee of a U.S. bank branch in Portland, Oregon, was let go from her job because she gave $20 to a customer so he can get home for Christmas.
- According to the bank, Emily James was fired for engaging in an unapproved interaction with a customer.
- The bank later apologized and offered to hire her back.
U.S. Bank has issued an apology after one of its employees was sacked for giving money out of her own pocket to a customer who needed help.
KGW-TV reported that Emily James, a customer rep at a US Bank Portland branch, got a call on Christmas Eve from bank customer Mark Eugenio whose first paycheck from a new job was put on hold. At that time, Eugenio told the news outlet that the glitch left him essentially broke that he couldn’t even fill up his gas tank to get home.
Eugenio said he got connected with James after calling the bank’s customer service line to sort out the problem. When he told her about his situation, she replied saying, ‘I’m gonna come out there and I’m gonna give you $20.’
James decided to personally deliver $20 to Eugenio after getting permission from a manager to leave the office.
“I handed him $20 in cash, said ‘Merry Christmas’ and “cried on the way back to work” feeling truly happy for helping someone out, James told the news station.
But that move ultimately got her and her supervisor-Abigail Gilbert- who allowed her to leave that day, discharged from their positions at the bank, reported OregonLive.
“She thought she did the right thing. A week later, she and a manager were fired,” wrote KGW-TV reporter Devon Haskins in a tweet.
According to the company, James had violated corporate policy by leaving the bank and having “an unauthorized interaction with a customer.”
More than a month later, James was still having difficulties looking for a job. Eugenio, who called the bank’s decision “ridiculous”, told the New York Times that he really felt so bad that James lost her job over the incident.
“How could she get fired?” he said adding that this is one Christmas he would want to forget.
U.S. Bank eventually apologized for the firing in a Feb. 1 statement where company CEO Andy Cecere told OregonLive that he would “fix this”.
Cecere added: “Our recent employment decision in Oregon does not reflect who we are as a company. It is important to acknowledge our mistakes and when we fall short of our own high expectations.”
Although the bank offered to rehire both women with Gilbert already agreeing to resume her post, James told OregonLive that she’s not sure she even wants her job back after all the defamatory comments that were directed at her.
James also stressed that U.S. Bank should apologize and make things right for their customer, Eugenio, who had to wait for another week to have his paycheck deposited.