For the better part of a week, residents in areas expected to be affected by Hurricane Irma were making plans to evacuate. But at least one Pizza Hut restaurant in Florida tried to restrict employee’s evacuation plans ahead of the storm.
A Jacksonville Pizza Hut allegedly issued rules telling workers they couldn’t evacuate for the hurricane days before it was expected to hit the state.
The rule first made the rounds on social media over the weekend.
“Our #1 priority is the safety and security of our team,” the letter reads. “But we also have a responsibility and commitment to our community to be there when they need us. With that said, I/we need some guidelines in place to ensure both those expectations are met.”
Those expectations, according to the rules, included a reminder that the store wouldn’t close until six to 12 hours before the storm hits.
Workers who were planning to evacuate were told they would have a 24-hour “grace period” before the storm to not be scheduled.
“You can not evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event!” the note declares, adding that those who evacuate must return within 72 hours.
Additionally, failure to show up for shifts — regardless of reason — would be considered a no call/no show.
Despite telling workers they couldn’t evacuate days prior to the storm, the restaurant advised workers to “prepare now” for the hurricane by buying supplies early.
Twitter users expressed their dissatisfaction with the chain over the weekend, claiming that it appeared Pizza Hut was putting profits ahead of employee safety.
The chain replied to users to say the rule were “not what our company stands for.”
Pizza Hut issued a statement on the incident, noting that all locations in the path of Irma have been closed and will remain closed until authorities deem those areas safe.
“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,” the company said. “We can also confirm that the local franchise operator has addressed this situation with the manager involved.”
Consumerist has reached out to Pizza Hut parent company Yum! Brands for additional comment on the photo.