Man claims PetSmart fired him for calling police about unmasked, armed customer

MIDLAND, Mich. (WJRT) – A Mid-Michigan man says he was fired over a mask issue at the PetSmart store in Midland.

It happened on July 19 when a PetSmart worker called police on a mask-less customer. The customer had a handgun strapped to his waist, he was open carrying and employee Alex Brothers thought it would be best if police were called.

His bosses eventually thought otherwise and he was fired.

“He had worked there since August of 2015, so obviously he was a good employee, a solid employee,” said attorney Jennifer McManus, who is representing Brothers.

At the time, the state’s executive order required everyone to wear a mask inside stores because of the coronavirus pandemic. McManus said Brothers, an assistant store manager, called the Midland Police Department.

“Seeing a customer with, openly carrying a weapon, you handle that situation differently, especially after what happened in Flint,” McManus said.

She was referring to the incident in Flint this past May, when a security guard was shot and killed at a Family Dollar store in a mask dispute.

Midland police confirm that an officer went to the Midland PetSmart on that day and removed, what was referred to in the daily police log as an unwanted customer.

McManus says at first her client’s bosses didn’t indicate there was anything wrong with Brothers calling police, but two days after the incident he was fired. The lawsuit claims he was told he was fired for “unwillingness to adhere to the company guidelines and policy” but McManus says no specific guideline or policy was cited.

A sign outside the store indicates masks are required inside. Brothers is suing for at least $75,000.

“As an employment lawyer, it always a shame to me when someone is terminated for doing their job,” she said.

A PetSmart spokesperson said, as a practice, the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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