A Long Island man says a dispute with his boss over wearing face masks may have cost him his job, saying he was fired for refusing to serve a coughing customer who was not donning the protective gear.
Thomas DeSarle was a manager of the Carvel store in Glen Cove, where he said he had been working 50 hours a week since the shop was able to reopen during the pandemic. But that changed after an incident over the weekend of July 10.
DeSarle said a man came into the store without wearing a mask, ignoring the sign outside the door that indicates a mask is required for all customers. The man, who can be seen on surveillance video exclusively obtained by NBC New York, was coughing according to DeSarle, and tried to pay with a $10 bill that was covered in perspiration.
DeSarle refused to serve the man, and went to talk with his boss, the owner of the store.
"I went to the back. That's when my boss told me if I can't serve customers, if I am scared to serve customers, then I don't have to work here no longer," DeSarle said.
The now-former manager said he was fired, and even explained what happened in a Facebook page for the local community.
However, the store's owner told NBC New York that DeSarle was not fired, but rather he simply walked out after being rude to the customer. The owner said she finished serving the man who was not wearing a mask.
"It's not correct. I can't be fired for following guidelines the state and Carvel has mandated her to do. I have to protect myself," DeSarle said.
Carvel refused to comment on the incident, but said in a statement that "it is our understanding the franchisee is following local guidelines and all employees and guests are expected to wear face coverings."
DeSarle said it was not the first time he was told to serve a customer not wearing a mask. He said is grateful for the outpouring of support from the Glen Cove community, and hopes to find a new job soon.
"It's all about the dollar. It's a business, I understand that — but there has to be protection for your employees," he said.
It marks the second time a Long Island ice cream shop has had an incident regarding masks. A Dairy Queen customer in Medford was flipped off by the manager after he asked them why employees weren’t wearing masks, leading to a heated exchange that was posted on social media.