Pizza Hut fires manager who refused to open on Thanksgiving

First Published      Last Updated Nov 27 2013 11:21 am

Pizza Hut gave manager Tony Rohr an ultimatum: open on Thanksgiving or sign a letter of resignation. Rohr refused and said he was fired instead.

Rohr had been at the Elkhart, Ind., pizza store for about 10 years when he learned of plans in 2013 to open on Thanksgiving, according to WSBT. The decision to open on the holiday was mandatory, but rather than fall in line, he decided to take a stand.

"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?'" Rohr told the TV station.

Rohr also reportedly told his bosses that he didn't want his staff to have to work, and be away from family, on one of the only two guaranteed days off in the entire year. The pizza chain bosses told him to write a letter of resignation, and when he refused — writing instead a letter of protest — they fired him, he said.

Pizza Hut didn't return WSBT's calls seeking comment, though one of Rohr's bosses chose to describe the incident as Rohr quitting.

The conflict illustrates the increased incursions of commercial culture into Thanksgiving Day. Earlier this month, mega-chain Walmart announced it would begin Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day, forcing about 1 million people to work on the holiday. The move follows most other major retailers, who also are beginning sales earlier and earlier in a race to consumer's pocket books.

Some Utahns, however, are taking a stand by participating in the growing "Buy Nothing Day," in which people refuse to shop during Black Friday.

— Jim Dalrymple II