Pizza Hut has come under fire after a manager at one of its franchises in Florida threatened to punish employees who wanted to evacuate as Hurricane Irma approached.
A photo of a memo from the manager at a Jacksonville location began circulating on Twitter on Sunday. The notice tells workers that they have a “responsibility and commitment” to the community, and that those who planned to evacuate would only get a 24-hour “grace period” before the storm “to not be scheduled.”
“In the event of an evacuation, you MUST return within 72 HOURS,” the memo said in bold type.
“You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event!” the note also read, even though Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry began ordering a mandatory evacuation for parts of the city on Friday.
The memo further warned:
“Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call/no show and documentation will be issued.”
The notice received a fair share of backlash on Twitter:
Pizza Hut responded to the manager’s note in 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,” it said. “We can also confirm that the local franchise operator has addressed this situation with the manager involved.”
Evacuating a hurricane just 24 hours before it hits could be a risky move. Traffic can be a nightmare and gasoline can be scarce.
“If you do it later, you may be caught in a flood of traffic trying to leave the area,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said last Wednesday. “You may find yourself in a car during a hurricane, which is not the best place to be.”