South Bend Tribune staff writer Cory Havens reports on the case of a bank emloyee allegedly fired in retaliation for refusing to submit to a lie detector “test.” Excerpt:
PLYMOUTH — A former employee has filed a lawsuit against Lake City Bank, claiming she was wrongly fired after a robbery at the Plymouth branch in January.
Susan Keefe of Plymouth claims the bank violated her rights by requiring her to submit to a polygraph test in relation to the Jan. 6 robbery, even though she says she was told she was not a suspect in the robbery.
In that incident, two armed women entered the bank and held Keefe, another teller and a customer at gunpoint while forcing another teller to give them money.
The two then reportedly left the bank and left with a man who had stayed in his vehicle outside.
In her lawsuit, Keefe says she cooperated fully with police, answering all their questions.
She claims police later asked her if she thought another bank employee could be involved in the robbery.
Keefe said she didn’t believe that person would be involved, and police asked her if she would be willing to take a polygraph, according to court documents.
Keefe alleges she repeatedly asked branch manager Michael Burroughs if she had to submit to the test, and that he told her he could not force her to, and that the bank could not fire her for refusing.
After initially agreeing to the test, Keefe said she changed her mind and refused.
Upon telling co-workers she had refused the test, the work environment was unfriendly that morning, she alleges in court documents.
Keefe claims when she came back from lunch that day, all the locks and combinations had been changed and she was sent home for the day, a Thursday, and told to come back on the following Monday.
Burroughs allegedly told her she would be compensated for that time, and that he did not know why she was being sent home, according to court documents.
When she returned that Monday, Jill DeBatty, the bank’s vice president of human resources, was at the Plymouth branch and told Keefe she was being terminated for refusing to help police, Keefe alleges in her lawsuit.