Dec. 11, 2020
Forest City: Two weeks before Christmas a young single mother has lost her job apparently because she dared to stand up for what she perceived was an injustice to a friend.
Lexie Kennedy organized a protest meeting for this Saturday at 3:45 pm to 5:30 pm at the Courthouse in Rutherfordton (see link) in support of Ethan Colton who was recently shot and killed by Rutherford County Sheriff’s Officer Tyler Greene during a questionable arrest. According to the victim’s family members he was shot in the back resulting in his death during the arrest. The SBI are currently investigating this as is the custom for all law enforcement shootings.
Emotions are running high in the community as several witnesses have a different account of what happened on the scene as opposed to the official statement released by the Sheriff’s Office. In a statement released Thursday by Sheriff Chris Frances it appears that someone has been making threats to his officers concerning this incident. This if true should be investigated and those persons should be held accountable. Violence only begets violence and should not be tolerated on either side.
That being said Lexie Kennedy’s story which was not about violence or threats towards the RCSO took a sad turn today. On Dec. 8th she was contacted by John Le from WLOS about being interviewed concerning the protest on Saturday. He asked if he could come to her job to talk with her. She asked her manager who said yes. She then asked her manager if she could post a Facebook live video about it during her break. She was excited that WLOS was interested in the protest. The manager told her yes as long as she did not wear any identifying items with Zaxby’s on it. She complied and took off her hat, mask, and put a jacket on over her name tag.
Thursday morning at work she was contacted by Zaxby’s HR who watched the video while on the phone with her and stated she found nothing wrong with the video but wanted to let her know that company policy did not allow phone usage while at work. She explained that she was on her break when she made the video.
Later in the day District Manager Jesse Ortiz came into the store and informed her she was fired for not adhering to company policy and made her sign a statement to that fact. When she questioned him as to what policy she violated he did not answer her.
After he left she asked her shift manager who was standing with the General Manager why she was fired. The shift manager said that Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office called Corporate and complained that they felt threatened by her working there and could not support the business as long as she was there. The General Manager did not deny this to Ms. Kennedy.
She was confused as nothing in her video was threatening in any way. However when she went back to review the video it had been erased from her Facebook feed. She had received no notice from Facebook that it was removed. It was just “gone.” Her freedom of speech erased by someone, somehow without her knowledge.
The loss of a job especially during a pandemic is such a sad thing for a young single mother to try to deal with two weeks before Christmas. If the reason for her dismissal was in fact because the Sheriff’s Office felt threatened then they should explain how this young woman caused them to fear for their safety enough to deprive her and her children of their income at Christmas. If that was not the reason then they should lead the charge in getting this young woman her job back as the very appearance of any type of intimidation during an active SBI investigation is unconscionable.
Either way it appears that Zaxby’s and possibly someone at Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office has caused the Grinch to target this young woman and her family depriving them of Christmas. Hopefully she can find the strength in her heart to persevere through this time and realize that doing the right thing is rarely ever easy. It is always to be commended when one supports and stands up for a friend especially when that friend can no longer stand up for themselves.
In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss “Christmas Day will always be .Just as long as we have we.” In a county and country looking for unity helping this one poor soul would be a start. Hopefully someone’s heart can grow from this.
To contact Zaxby’s see information below:
Zaxby’s Forest City Store
General Manager : Marsha Rictor
District Manager: Jesse Ortiz
Zaxby’s Corporate :
1 (866) 892-9297
To contact Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office:
If you have any questions or concerns please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will attempt to get them answered for you. (all communications are confidential)