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  • People have called Pizza Hut’s demand ridiculous, stating that pizza will never be an emergency.

    People have called Pizza Hut’s demand ridiculous, stating that pizza will never be an emergency. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 September 2017

"Our #1 priority is the safety and security of our team,” Pizza Hut manager states before threatening employees if they fail to work during the hurricane.

A Pizza Hut in Florida is under fire for threatening to punish its employees for failure to show up for work despite calls to evacuate the area during the Category 4 Hurricane Irma, which has already caused death and destruction along its path in the Caribbean.

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A notice posted on the wall for employees of a Pizza Hut in Jacksonville, Florida informed its workers that they were expected to turn up for their shifts and did not need to leave Friday for a hurricane that was scheduled to hit the city Tuesday, saying that one day would be sufficient.

“As a general rule of thumb, we close stores 6-12 hours before storm hits. Or night before if a daytime storm ... If evacuating, you will have a 24-hour period before storm 'grace period' to not be scheduled. You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event,” the notice stated.

“Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason will be considered a no call/no show and documentation will be issued,” it continued to say, adding that employees should prepare for the storm immediately and not wait to buy their supplies.

The document states in bold that all employees must return within 72 hours of their evacuation and appear for their shifts.

“Our #1 priority is the safety and security of our team,” however, the community may need its pizza services, management reminded its workers.

A photo of the notice first appeared on Redditt and quickly made its way to Twitter where thousands denounced the local management, calling on Pizza Hut to intercede.

One Twitter user countered that the hurricane may not even have passed over by the deadline to report to work, not to mention the immense difficulty after the storm in terms of transportation.

Others have called Pizza Hut’s demand ridiculous, stating that pizza will never be an emergency, declaring their plans to stop supporting the franchise. Still more are advising that in the event of lost employment, workers have the right to sue the restaurant.

Other major corporate chains are also guilty, with reports of Florida area Walmarts threatening its workers with unemployment if they do not appear and Publix Supermarket petitioning the right to keep its doors open and servicing the community while the city evacuates the hurricane zone.

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The organization Fight for $15 — a social movement that defends the rights of non-unionized, minimum wage service employees — has denounced the corporations, stating they are putting their employees’ lives at risk.

One of the biggest and most powerful storms ever to hit the United States, Irma gained momentum as it grew to a terrifying Category 4 hurricane, crashing into the Florida coast, with sustained winds of 130 mph. The storm is expected to bring with it up to 20 inches of rain to many parts of Florida.

Some 300,000 people in the state of Florida were without electricity as the hurricane approached Sunday morning while just days before a mass exodus of the state’s six million residents evacuated the state leaving 76,000 people behind in Florida’s danger zone.

Following official advisories to evacuate, county administrator, Roman Gastesi, from the Florida Keys told residents not to bother calling 911 when the storm hits, “We will not come get you ... please don’t even think about dialing 911, because we’re just not going to respond.”

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