Honda-Driving Woman Told to Get Out of Dodge

Former employee claims impeccable work record

TINLEY PARK, Ill. -- When Heather Sallay proudly drove her family's college graduation gift to her part-time job as a cashier, her boss at Bettenhausen Dodge only had two words for her:  you're fired.

The 22-year-old had worked at the dealership for three and a half years and had recently received a glowing recommendation letter from the office manager, but was let go when she pulled up in her new Honda Civic.

"I just wanted to confirm, 'Did you, in fact, fire Heather because she's driving a Honda?'" Todd Sallay recalled.  "And he said, 'Yes I did."

Todd Sallay owns a Chrysler product and showed off 27 receipts he'd collected over the years for almost $5,000 worth of service at Bettenhausen.  The only thing his daughter can imagine is that her termination was tied to tension at Bettenhausen Dodge this week as they awaited word about which dealerships would survive.  Bettenhausen Dodge did.

And, said Todd Sallay, determining what qualifies as a foreign car these days is an increasingly gray area. 

"The Honda that Heather bought is, we found out this morning by looking at the sticker on the car, it's built in Canada, and the Chrysler that I have in my driveway was built in Mexico."

In fact, Heather Sallay said that some of her former colleagues drive foreign cars and remain employed at the dealership.

The dealership's manager, Mike Bettenhausen, turned down an offer for an interview, but did comment via e-mail:

"We do not comment publicly on personnel issues. There is more to the story than insinuated; issues that are between employer and employee.  We'll take the high road."

Heather Sallay stands by her claim of a spotless employment history, and said that what she really wants to do now is land her first full time job as an elementary education teacher, without a job termination on her record. 

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