Florida Pizza Hut Under Fire for Pre-Irma Memo to Workers

Manager issued note with lots of restrictions on evacuating, missing work
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2017 8:44 AM CDT
Fla. Pizza Hut Hassled Workers About Missing Work for Irma
This photo shows a Pizza Hut sign at a restaurant in Miami.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

"Pizza Hut is willing to kill people FOR PIZZA!!!!!" That was one of the big takeaways on Twitter over the weekend after an alleged in-store memo made the social media rounds. Consumerist reports that, in advance of Hurricane Irma barreling down on Florida, the memo was distributed to employees at one of the chain's Jacksonville locations. And while the rest of the Sunshine State made plans to shore up their homes, seek out nearby shelters, or evacuate, these Pizza Hut employees were hamstrung by a few of the restrictions listed in the letter. "Our #1 priority is the safety and security of our team," the memo reads. "But we also have a responsibility and commitment to our community to be there when they need us." The letter then goes on to list some of the "guidelines" employees needed to heed before, during, and after the storm.

Those included noting the store wouldn't close until six to 12 hours before the storm's expected arrival; workers would have a 24-hour "grace period" in terms of work scheduling ("You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event!"), a time frame the Washington Post deems "risky"; and all employees "MUST return within 72 hours" of an evacuation. Anyone not showing up for work would be a "no call/no show," no matter the reason, and "documentation will be issued." Fortune notes because Florida is an "at-will" employment state, such a policy would fall in a "legal gray area" (in Pizza Hut's favor), though it adds many employers wouldn't fire workers in such a situation. Pizza Hut issued a statement: "We absolutely do not have a policy that dictates when team members can leave or return from a disaster, and the manager who posted this letter did not follow company guidelines." (More Hurricane Irma stories.)

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