Pizza Hut is a household name to many Florida individuals, but their opinion of the food chain may change after learning of recent accusations leveled against the restaurant in a federal court. Two former employees who worked for the restaurant chain in another state are accusing it of workplace discrimination based on their age. They claim that they were forced into a dangerous situation so the company could have an excuse to fire them.
The long-term employees were both working part time as servers and were at least 10 years older than their peers with the exception of one. According to their lawsuit, the air conditioner was not working properly for a few days, and the restaurant became very hot. The plaintiffs could not tolerate the heat very well and asked their superior if they could leave. Their manager allegedly refused to allow them to go and told them to continue working.
The plaintiffs claim that their health was in jeopardy because of the heat, and, in concern for their safety, they left the restaurant anyways. The women allege that when younger employees asked if they could leave, they were given permission. Because the plaintiffs left work, they were subsequently fired.
The complaint accuses JNP Foods -- which is doing business as Pizza Hut -- of forcing the plaintiffs to stay, knowing that because of their age, they would not be able to tolerate the heat and leave anyways, which would cause them to be fired. A judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them a total of $200,000 for their workplace discrimination claim. Previously, the women had used all the remedies available through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Florida employees who feel that they were terminated or otherwise mistreated because of their age or any other legally protected status may choose to file claims against their employers. If successful, the claimants may be awarded financial relief or possibly be returned to their former positions when appropriate.
Source: pennrecord.com, "Fired Pizza Hut servers awarded nearly $200K in federal court", Nicholas Malfitano, Dec. 31, 2015