Tony Rohr recently discovered the one question that you simply cannot ask in today’s corporate America.
"Why can't we be the company that stands up and says we care about our employees?” Rohr says he asked his bosses at the Elkhart, Ind., Pizza Hut where he is a store manager.
Definitely the wrong question.
Pizza Hut wasted no time demanding that Rohr (pictured) quit his job at the chain pizza outlet where he’d worked for more than a decade, devotedly working his way up the ladder from cooking the mass-produced pies to becoming general manager of the Pizza Hut on Elkhart’s Jackson Boulevard.
What prompted Rohr to sacrifice his career? He just wanted his workers to spend Thanksgiving with their families, not catering to people who for whatever reason choose to chow down on chain-store pizza this Turkey Day.
In previous years, he says, the Pizza Hut closed on Thanksgiving. He wanted to remain closed this year. But his bosses told him to open up.
When he refused, they fired him, he told local TV station WSBT.
The station attempted to get a response from someone representing Pizza Hut, but as of late Tuesday, no one from the pizza chain replied.
Pizza Hut is owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns the Taco Bell and KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) fast food chains. With $12.6 billion revenue and $1.3 billion profit in 2012, Yum! Brands ranked 213th on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations.
How much more profit the company will earn by opening on Thanksgiving is difficult to determine, but they won’t be paying Rohr’s salary, at least.
Rather than turn in his resignation, Rohr penned a letter to his employers explaining his stance.
"I am not quitting. I do not resign however I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company,” he wrote. "I hope you realize that it's the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible."
Rohr’s firing set off a barrage of online protests directed at the Pizza Hut Facebook page.
"Apparently making money is more important than allowing your employees to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families,” read one typical post.
“Boycott Pizza Hutt!!! Give this man his job back, & compensate him for his time lost!” read another.