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Man fired for giving workers time off on Thanksgiving

(MoneyWatch) Large companies are increasingly faced with the pressure to open on Thanksgiving. Fast-food restaurants are no exception, as one Pizza Hut manager recently found out. 

Tony Rohr, who says he had worked at the same Elkhart, Ind., branch of the pizza chain for 10 years, working his way up through a series of jobs, claims he was fired because he refused to open the store on Thanksgiving. He thought the employees that he managed should not have to work on the holiday.

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In a meeting with his superiors, Rohr reportedly said, "Why can't we be the company that stands up and says, 'We care about our employees and you can have the day off?'"

He told them that he would not open the restaurant on Thanksgiving. "Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days that they're closed in the whole year," he told WSBT News in Indiana, "and there are only two days those people are guaranteed to have off and spend it with their families."

Pizza Hut's regional management said the decision to close the restaurant on Thanksgiving was not Rohr's to make and that if he refused to open the store, he should resign. Instead, Rohr sent a letter in which he explicitly said that although he neither resigned nor quit, "I accept that the refusal to comply with this greedy, immoral request means the end of my tenure with this company."

The letter further said, "I hope you realize that it's the people at the bottom of the totem pole that make your life possible."

Pizza Hut did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

WSBT reported that it reached a Pizza Hut regional manager who insisted that Rohr was not fired but had quit and that the company's plan to open on Thanksgiving was no different from what a number of other national store and restaurant chains are doing.

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