Pizza Hut manager threatens workers evacuating ahead of Irma

A Pizza Hut manager in Florida warned employees not to evacuate more than one day ahead of Hurricane Irma, threatening punishment for "failure to show for these shifts" in a memo.

In the note posted to employees, the manager of a Jacksonville location told workers they "cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event" and that they may only decline shifts during a 24-hour "grace period" before the storm. 

"Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call / no show and documentation will be issued," the note reads.

In bold, it stresses that "in the event of an evacuation, you MUST return within 72 HOURS."

The note, of course, made its way online.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr called the memo an "isolated incident by an employee who showed very poor judgment," and said the franchise's operator addressed the manager over the issue.

That particular Pizza Hut franchise offers financial hardship assistance for storm-affected employees, Terfehr said, as did Houston-area restaurants owned by the same franchisee after Hurricane Harvey.

"This is not, whatsoever, a company or franchise policy," Terfehr said.

Still, as the Atlantic reported, the law protects employers who fire storm-fleeing employees in many cases.

In Florida, workers employed at-will can be fired "for a good reason (or) a bad reason—as long as it's not an unlawful reason, which is usually discrimination," Sharon Block of Harvard Law School told the magazine.

Ashley May contributed to this article.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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