Twenty-eight year old Tony Rohr, Pizza Hut manager of Elkhart, Ind., was fired for refusing to open the restaurant on Thanksgiving Day. He was told to write a letter of resignation after he gave his employees the day off, but instead he decided to write a letter explaining why they should be given the day off.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Rohr was taking a stand for his employees since Pizza Hut is usually closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though the choice of opening on these holidays depends on the local decision, most U.S. franchises are closed.
“I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company. I hope you realize that it is the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible,” he wrote.
According to CNN.com, Pizza Hut’s corporate office explained that the franchise “made a serious error in judgment, one which we hope to help remedy.”
Pizza Hut also sent CNN a statement which said, “We fully respect an employee’s right to not work on a holiday, which is why the vast majority of Pizza Huts in America are closed on Thanksgiving. As a result, we strongly recommended that the local franchisee reinstate the store manager and they have agreed. We look forward to them welcoming Tony back to the team.”
When Rohr was fired, he was managing about 15 people. Although his job has been reinstated, he is unsure whether or not he wants to return. He explained that it is something he cannot decide right away.
The fact that Rohr was fired in the first place seems unfair. It is not as if he did anything illegal. He simply wrote a letter explaining why it would be a good idea for his employees to have the day off. Many have called Rohr a hero for standing up to the franchise.
“All my friends are telling me how cool it is and how proud they are — ‘You’re my hero’ and stuff you don’t expect to hear,” he told CNN. “No, I’m just some guy who told his boss ‘No’ and got burned. There are people who save lives,” Rohr added.
Many stores were told by corporate offices to open their stores on Thanksgiving night for the Black Friday sale. However, some refused and were upset when word spread about what happened to Rohr.
Holly Cassiano did not open her Sears franchise in Plymouth, N.H. because she did not find it appropriate or fair for the employees to have to work on Thanksgiving. “It bothers me that this country is allowing them [companies] to dictate time away from our families,” she explained.
Hopefully, we do not have to keep hearing stories of employees being fired for these types of situations since they clearly did not do anything wrong, but rather, something brave.