(Photo: Screen Grab via WSBT 22)
After working with the company for 10 years, a manager of a Pizza Hut in Elkhart, Ind., said he was fired from his job for refusing a "greedy, immoral" request from his superiors to work on Thanksgiving Day.
The now unemployed ex-manager, Tony Rohr, who worked his way up from being a cook to become general manager at Elkhart's Jackson Boulevard Pizza Hut, told WSBT 22 that he was recently informed by superiors that opening on Thanksgiving this year was mandatory.
At a follow-up meeting he said he protested the request because he wanted his employees to spend the day with their families.
"I said why can't we be the company that stands up and says we care about our employees and they can have the day off," said Rohr, who told them that out of respect for the employees he managed, he wouldn't open the store.
"Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days that they're closed in the whole year and they're the only two days that those people are guaranteed to have off and spend it with their families," he added.
Pizza Hut,however, did not appreciate his logic and he said they asked him to sign a letter of resignation which he also refused to do.
Instead, he wrote them a letter explaining his position.
"I am not quitting. I do not resign however I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company," he wrote in the letter.
"I hope you realize that it's the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible," he further noted.
Pizza Hut did not provide an official response to this report but one of Rohr's bosses who serves as operations manager for several Pizza Hut locations in Indiana told WSBT 22 that Rohr wasn't fired. He quit.
Many people, like Cara Chapel, reacting to Rohr's decision have praised him for his actions on Facebook.
"As a former 10 year employee with PH, as a GM that had to work on almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas because someone has to go in on their 2 closed days a year to pull out 500 frozen dough discs for the next day and I refused to ask an hourly employee to do it, even though of course that was upper management's suggestion, hats off to Tony wish more people had these nuts and berries," said Chapel.
"Wishing him and his family a wonderful holiday. And no worries on the job I hope, there are plenty of wonderful family owned restaurants in this area that would love to have Tony and his corporate training, trust me," she added.
Chapel further explained that the Thanksgiving weekend is Pizza Hut's biggest money making weekend including the Wednesday before they do business.
"…Like it's the Super Bowl, Black Friday is a Friday night rush that lasts about 10 hours, and by the weekend everyone else is over leftovers so now here they come. So teach the boys upstairs a lesson DON'T GIVE IN THIS NEXT WEEK TO THE QUICK FIX. Words are harsh and might hurt but numbers are powerful and really hurt. If you take away the big business that they are already expecting on the days surrounding maybe the boys will learn the error of their ways," noted Chapel.
People like Jeanette Lemcool, a nurse, said she would be boycotting Pizza Hut over the report.
"I don't think any kind of retail or restaurant should be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I refuse to shop or eat out on those days....they should be spent with our families. After reading this...I won't be going to pizza hut at all...no great loss to me. I salute this gentleman for taking a stand. More of us need to do that....and put these greedy companies where they belong!!" she noted.
Not everyone, however, was as supportive.
"This guy works in a restaurant. They are open on holidays. He needs to put his big boy pants on and suck it up. OR does that mean that every police officer, firefighter, soldier who doesn't feel they should work on a holiday, just refuse to do so. GROW UP DUDE," said Colin Sayer from Morristown, N.Y.
Dennis Hutchinson of Waynesville, Mo., agreed.
"He made his bed, hope he's nice and comfy sleeping in it. BTW, can you hear his next interview? 'Why did you leave your previous employer?' 'Because I disagreed with their policies and refused to work on a holiday,'" noted Hutchinson.