A Jacksonville, Florida, Pizza Hut manager prompted a wave of criticism with a memo mandating that staff members in the path of Hurricane Irma were to evacuate no more than 24 hours before the storm and return to work within 72 hours afterward.
A photograph of the employee notice was posted to Twitter by a store employee, according to a report by The Washington Post.
"Our No. 1 priority is the safety and security of our team," the first line of the memo read. A few paragraphs later, though, it informed employees, "You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event." This despite the fact that Florida Governor Rick Scott had three days previously declared a statewide emergency.
And, in fact, emergency responders advise that evacuating within the last 24 hours before a storm of Irma's magnitude is extremely risky due, in part, to traffic snarls and other complications such as flooded roadways that can occur before the main storm hits.
The memo went on to caution workers that "Failure to show for ... shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call/no show and documentation will be issued. ... In the event of an evacuation, you MUST return within 72 HOURS."
Harsh criticism of the memo on social media prompted Pizza Hut to post a written response yesterday on its corporate blog, Hut Talk:
Statement on Hurricane Guidelines
We are uncompromising in our commitment to the safety and well-being of our team members.
All locations in the path of Irma are closed and will remain closed until local authorities deem
the area 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. We can also confirm that the local franchise operator has addressed this situation
with the manager involved.
Attempts by this website to obtain further details from Pizza Hut communications team members have received no response as of this writing.
Photo: Screenshot from Hut Talk site