Ex-teller sues Citizens Bank over firing

A former teller at the Citizens Bank office in Bellefonte has filed a federal lawsuit claiming unlawful discharge and failure to accommodate.

Barbara J. Bair, 62, of Bellefonte, filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. Middle District Court against Citizens Financial Group Inc. seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, along with front and back pay and benefits.

The complaint stated that Bair, who has scoliosis, worked full-time as a teller for about 20 years, until she received a termination notice Oct. 23 effective the following day.

In September 2011, she said, the bank reconfigured the bank teller positions. Her new position required her to be seated, which she claims caused chronic back pain. Bair said she told the bank in July 2012 she could no longer work sitting down but could if she was standing.

She completed a Family and Medical Leave Act application, and her doctor submitted documentation of her scoliosis, the complaint stated.

The reason for her termination, according to Bair, was that her doctor stated her condition required additional time away from work for an unknown duration. He did not tell the bank that, she claimed.

Bair received a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after filing a disability discrimination complaint.