Manager fired for refusing to serve customer

GLEN COVE, Long Island (WABC) — The manager of an ice cream store on Long Island says he was fired for refusing to serve a customer who was coughing and not wearing a mask.

The manager claims his boss ordered him to serve people who weren’t wearing masks because the Carvel ice cream store on Forest Avenue was losing too much money to refuse anyone.

“I was told that if was too scary to work here no more, too scary to work here, you don’t have to work here anymore. And I was terminated from my job,” said former manager Thomas DeSarle.

In the age of COVID-19, it’s a scary scenario for an essential worker.

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“I heard a customer coughing in the front of the store so I walked to the front,” DeSarle said of the July 11 incident. “He was standing there coughing on his hand. And again, coughing not to clear his throat. He was coughing loud, like a wet cough.”

The customer who was coughing loudly and not wearing the mask required by New York law then entered the ice cream store.

Until that day, DeSarle had been the store manager and worked 50-hour work weeks for two years.

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“I said, ‘Sir, do you have a mask?’ Didn’t respond to me. I said, ‘Sir, can I get you a mask?’ All he did was keep looking up at the board, trying to order,” DeSarle said.

DeSarle said he’d hoped the customer would pay with a credit card so he could avoid close contact, but instead, the customer moved closer and tried to pay with what DeSarle described as a sweaty $10 bill.

And that’s when DeSarle said he had to draw the line and said he felt there was no way he could touch the money because he could get sick.

“To be fired for following rules and for following state guidelines seems not correct, doesn’t seem right. Doesn’t seem right to me,” DeSarle said.

DeSarle has since hired an attorney.

“We have a few options. First is filing a complaint on the state website with Cuomo, we’re considering doing that. Or we may go file a state action with a whistleblower violation,” said personal attorney Jon Bell.

Eyewitness News contacted both the Glen Cove franchise store owner and the corporate officer for comment but did not hear back.

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