Employee Suspended for Call From Marine Son

Tenn. company reinstates woman, updates policy after outrage over suspension.

ByABC News
February 21, 2011, 1:29 PM

Feb. 21, 2011— -- A Tennessee company has rewritten office policy and apologized to a military-mom employee after suspending her for taking a cell-phone call at work from her son in Afghanistan, where he is stationed as a Marine.

Crane Interiors of Woodbury suspended Teresa Danford for three days after she answered a call last Monday from Lance Cpl. Mark Rhyne. He has been in Afghanistan for seven months and only gets access to a satellite phone once a month.

"There is nothing in this world that would stop a mother from answering a phone call from her son, and what if it was not my son?" Danford reportedly asked. "What if he'd been hurt and someone was trying to contact me?"

ABC News was unable to reach her for comment.

Citing the use of phones at the factory as a safety issue, Crane Interiors, which makes marine upholstery, not only suspended Danford Tuesday but warned her that a repeat offense would result in termination.

She was reportedly aware of the policy, arguing, however, that the company knew of her son's limited access to a phone.

Crane Interiors backtracked after the ensuing public outrage, issuing an apology. Crane Interior regrets the incident and has not only reinstated Danford's pay but instituted a special policy allowing employees to take calls from military personnel serving overseas, Human Resources Manager Larry Officer said.

"We are supportive of our military and their sacrifices," he said today, adding that the incident had been overblown.

Lig Quigley, managing partner of Discover Staffing, an Atlanta-based, temporary-help agency, said,"When you are making a policy, it has to be well communicated, so people know what that policy means.

"You must also think about circumstances which may arise and what exceptions there may be to deviate from the rules."

This was one of those cases, she added, and the company has done right by Danford.