Ellen Strickland, 80, says she was fired from Home Depot because of her age
BY Thomas Zambito
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Saturday, January 22nd 2011, 4:00 AM
Farriella for NewsEllen Strickland, 80, was fired after 19-year career at Home Depot for crediting her bank card while making store purchases.
An 80-year-old Home Depot checkout lady known as "Mom" to co-workers says she was canned over a 6-cent screw.
But Ellen Strickland says her September firing had more to do with her age than the screw.
She's suing the home-improvement giant for age discrimination in Queens Supreme Court.
Strickland says she was called into her boss' office and told that her habit of ringing up 6-cent screws to get cash back on her debit card and avoid ATM fees was a no-no.
Strickland, who worked as a bookkeeping supervisor for 15 years before she moved to the register, agreed to stop. By then she had done it four times.
"I used to handle millions of dollars for this company and for 24 cents I'm told I'm going to have to leave?" Strickland said. "There was not a penny missing."
A spokeswoman for the South Ozone Park Home Depot could not be reached for comment.
Strickland says the move stunned her since she had recently been honored at an employee luncheon for registering above-average grades for "cashier friendliness" and a stellar "wait to checkout" time.
Her lawyer, Esther Goldbas, says Strickland was fired despite "a flawless record."
Strickland "performed an action that was common practice among store employees....Plaintiff was the only employee terminated for this action, while younger employees were not," the lawsuit claims.
The firing forced Strickland to leave a place that became a second home after the death of her husband five years ago.
"I enjoyed getting out and seeing the kids," Strickland says. "I was enjoying getting up and going to work every day."
Over 19 years she attended weddings, baby showers and other major events in the