Pizza Hut manager fired for closing on Thanksgiving, rehired after backlash

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Pizza Hut manager Tony Rohr was fired after 10 years on the job for refusing to open his franchise on Thanksgiving. Then he was rehired by the company after a backlash about the firing. (Photo: CNN / WSBT)

Pizza Hut manager Tony Rohr was fired after 10 years on the job for refusing to open his franchise on Thanksgiving. Then he was rehired by the company after a backlash about the firing. (Photo: CNN / WSBT)

ELKART, Ind. — Shortly after a manager announced he was fired for refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day, Pizza Hut is offering him his job back.

Tony Rohr has worked at the franchise in Elkhart, Indiana, for more than 10 years.

When he refused to open on Thanksgiving Day this year, he says, he was told to write a letter of resignation.

Instead, he wrote one explaining why the store should remain closed.

“I said why can’t we be the company that stands up and says we care about your employees and you can have the day off,” Rohr told CNN affiliate WSBT on Wednesday. “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 to spend with their families.”

Rohr told the affiliate he refused to quit and detailed his frustration in the letter.

“I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company,” he says he wrote. “I hope you realize that it is the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible.”

He was fired shortly after, he says.

The local franchise told the affiliate that he was not fired, but he quit. Pizza Hut’s corporate office told CNN the franchise “made a serious error in judgment, one which we hope to help remedy.”

It sent CNN a statement that said the store has agreed to hire him back.

“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,” the corporate office said in a statement. “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.”

No word on whether Rohr will take his job back.

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8 comments

  • Max Overdriver

    More proof detached corporate execs really don’t care about “little people” until someone makes them care. They are only responding to the bad press. They were hoping to keep that defiant manager under the rug.

    Remember, Holidays are only for the privileged. Yes I have to work today and I am bitter and hateful. I guess that’s my fault for not earning the right to get the day off.

    I guess I should be grateful I even have a job.

    Please go shopping today so I can serve you. Thanx

  • joe

    another example of corporate greed and even more…call it bullying-what ever seems appropriate…and yes the inconsiderate cowards wld not have retracted if not made public…thx cnn!

  • eric

    Good for Tony! It seems that the pen, is a mighty weapon when dealing dealing with bottom line driven, corporate fat cats. Thankfully, Pizza Hut, saw the error of their ways, and decided that losing the money from the dozen pizzas, that store would have sold today..was less important than the potentially thousands in lost sales from the back lash of Tony’s firing…

  • john cook

    They will be watching him like a hawk. The slightest mistake, like being late by five minutes and he will be fired.

    But only after all of this has died down.

  • ARCHA Hill

    Yes, the corporate was right to reinstate him. The Franchise he has worked for is crazy for being open on Thanksgiving, besides there are not too many who would order Pizza on Thanksgiving!

  • guestamundo

    Isn’t it stupid that they closed on TG? It could have meant like 5 or 6 pizza sales, and the new Turkey Pizza would have been a hit. Just sad that one worker can cause this much damage to a huge corporation when they are the ones providing jobs. Robots need to get hired because they never call in sick. Go Pizza Hut! Love that pan crust! Robots must unit here and take up the slack.

  • Brian

    Tony iRohr s a guy I respect for standing up for his belief that family and quality time are as important as they were decades ago. This great country has a rich history of stopping the marketing and money exchange, so we can give thanks to a higher power and get together and spend quality time with our loved ones.

    Life is short and these days too fast paced. Stop and wind down.Take time to give thanks for our still blessed life we have in this great country.

    Our forefathers would be proud of us. God bless America, and Tony.

  • Ann M.

    I suggest everyone not forget this Thanksgiving event and remember to call all Elkart Indiana Pizza Huts each year to reinforce how bullying an employee may result in a boycott to this Pizza Hut and affiliates nationwide. I will not bring any after game teams to Pizza Hut as these Junior High and High School age young people could be the possible future employees of inappropriate management and I want these kids to make better choices for who they get involved with in any business. Congratulations and great respect for Mr. Fohr to stand up for addressing an important precedent recognized by the public backlash that Pizza Hut deserved for “attempting to twist” this employee’s employment rather than allowing a franchise to be owned by someone who I would suspect that Pizza Hut Corporate wishes they had never sold a franchise to. Perhaps corporate should reevaluate to add provisions to all franchise owners contracts that require both a moral clause and consequence clause for managements inappropriate handling of employees. I feel that Mr. Fohr should pursue legal action against the franchise owner for all the right reasons.

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