A Pizza Hut in Jacksonville, Fla., is facing backlash after threatening to punish employees looking to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma.
In a note gone viral on social media, the Florida location of the popular pizza chain laid out strict rules for scheduled workers as the state braced for the powerful storm.
“If evacuating, you will have a 24-hour period before-storm ‘grace period’ to not be scheduled,” the notice reads. “You CANNOT evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event! Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call/no show, and documentation will be issued.”
The note added that in the event of an evacuation, employees MUST return within 72 hours.
The catastrophic storm, once a Category 5 hurricane, made its way through Jacksonville early Monday, Sept. 11, turning streets into rivers and causing downed trees and power lines.
Critics blasted the store’s policies on social media, arguing that such restrictions could endanger the lives of their workers. Some even called for the manager to be fired.
— Jennifer Tanko (@imjohnnyasana) September 11, 2017
— Joan Allen (@Jallen_sf) September 10, 2017
He needs to be fired. No notice, no severance $. This meathead has no value for human life. Leaving 1 day before is how people get stranded.
— Anne Hefley (@annecentral) September 12, 2017
Terribly cruel. This is no “commitment to the community” it’s the manipulation of poor employees for corporate greed.
— Cody Johnson (@WmCodyJohnson) September 11, 2017
dear @pizzahut: this is disgraceful. i’m not only disappointed but honestly disgusted & horrified. pizza is not more important than people.
— epsilon.⚡️ (@jordnsaysthings) September 10, 2017
Speaking with Business Insider, a Pizza Hut spokesperson said a single manager at the Jacksonville location was responsible for the memo, which violated the chain’s guidelines. All employees were contacted after the franchise group in charge of the store was made aware of the notice and reassured that their health and safety was of the utmost importance, the spokesperson said.
The company also issued a full statement online:
“We are uncompromising in our commitment to the safety and well-being of our team members,” the company said in part. “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. We can also confirm that the local franchise operator has addressed this situation with the manager involved.”
There is no word on whether the manager involved has been disciplined.