Delivery Driver Sacked For Refusing To Wear Mask In His Lorry
A delivery driver is thought to be the first in Britain to be sacked for refusing to wear a mask inside his lorry.
Deimantas Kubilius was let go two months into the first lockdown last year after he refused to wear a mask while inside his HGV.
Kubilius arrived to make a delivery at a Tate and Lyle sugar refinery where he was asked to wear a mask while inside the cab but 'dug his heels in' and refused.
He had agreed to wear a mask when not in the lorry, the Daily Mail reports.
Bosses at the factory were concerned that the driver could pass on the potentially deadly virus while speaking out of his window; but the driver said the 'cab is my home' and stuck to his guns.
He was later sacked as a result and decided to launch legal action against Kent Foods, the company he worked for.
However, he has now lost his case after a judge ruled that the company was entitled to fire him.
Kubilius was due to drop off the delivery on 21 May 2020 at the Tate and Lyle Thames Refinery in London, at the time the company had introduced measures that meant mask should always be worn while working.
After his refusal, bosses at Tate and Lyle sent Kent Foods an email that said they had had 'an incident with one of your drivers this morning'.
The email went on: "The driver was asked repeatedly to put his mask on by one of our managers.
"Every driver receives a mask when he enters site with instructions to wear the mask when on site. He refused, saying he was in his cab and he didn't have to."
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In an attempt to defend his actions, Kubilus, a Polish national, said: "I didn't nothing wrong (sic), I just stay in my cab and staff from Tates came to me and start required to keep mask on my face but I don't must seat in my cab with mask, my cab is my home [sic].
"When I leaving my cab I wear mask and first its not the law [sic]."
Tate and Lyle manager Jon Freeman said: "I asked him to put his mask back on, he told me he didn't need to as he was in his cab.
"I then explained that with no mask on, all the droplets coming from his mouth as he spoke were going to land on people's faces due to his elevated position up in the cab and that the site rules were he needed it on until he leaves site, also we were wearing our masks to protect him.
"He still refused."
At a tribunal, Employment Judge Barrett dismissed his claims of unfair dismissal, saying: "I accept Kubilius' evidence that he was not informed of the requirement to wear a face mask even inside his cab until he was asked to do so by Mr Freeman.
"Kubilius is a details-oriented person who believed he was following the written site instructions.
"He was surprised by the instruction, and dug his heels in.
"Everyone was operating under a level of stress as key-workers required to work during the coronavirus lockdown."
In conclusion, the judge said: "Taking into account the relevant circumstances, including [Kubilius'] lack of remorse and the practical difficulties caused by the Tate and Lyle site ban, I conclude that the decision to dismiss fell within the range of reasonable responses."
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: UK News
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