Pizza Hut Worker Fired For Reporting Mice To Health Department

A Pizza Hut worker says she was fired after reporting finding 6 live mice stuck to glue traps at a North Carolina Pizza Hut where she was employed, according to WFMY News:

Health inspectors closed a Pizza Hut restaurant in east Raleigh after a worker found live mice inside it. The employee who notified the health department about the mice says she was fired for reporting the problem.

In an initial inspection, a heath department inspector found mouse droppings behind an ice machine, but gave the restaurant a passing grade because she didn’t find any live animals. A contractor put out glue traps, and when the worker in question arrived at the restaurant the next morning, she found 6 live mice stuck to the traps.

She called the health department to report the mice and the inspector ordered the restaurant to be closed. The worker says she was fired for reporting the live mice. That’s comforting. We’ll sleep better at night knowing that workers who report outrageously vermin-infested Pizza Huts will be fired.—MEGHANN MARCO

Worker Fired After Reporting Mice At Pizza Hut [WFMY]
(Photo: a2gemma)

Comments

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  1. hills says:

    “Pizza Hut – Italian Bistro” …?

    More Like…

    Pizza Hut – Italian Mice-tro!!!!!!

  2. B says:

    Pizza Hut to employees: Don’t be Snitchin.

  3. valkin says:

    I know people don’t want mice in their restaurants but how about putting out a more humane method of trapping or killing rodents? Glue traps are horrible and mice often chew their own legs off to get out.

  4. 160medic says:

    @valkin: Good then the little mother f…ers cant run so fast.

  5. skittlbrau says:

    north carolina gets upset over 6 mice? in nyc we’ve got rats doing gymnastics in the taco bells!

  6. Emrikol says:

    @baa: That sounds like a muppet show just waiting to happen.

  7. CRSpartan01 says:

    How about the restaurants are properly cleaned in the first place so they can avoid the mice?

  8. SilentDash says:

    Way to look out for the customers. They’d still be open if the employee hadn’t said anything….eesh.

  9. AcidReign says:

    …..The article didn’t say whether this was the case or not, but you should report that sort of thing to your supervisor. If they won’t do anything about it, THEN tip off the Health Department. Anonymously, if possible! Sounds like management was trying, putting out traps, etc.

    …..Me, I like Dcon in a place with no pets or small children.

  10. Darren W. says:

    Funny, Pizza Hut is owned by the same company as the restaurant that was closed down in NYC for the rat video!

  11. Invisobel says:

    @SilentDash: Yeah I mean they were in the mousetraps, it’s not like they were in the food. I say we should thank the pizza hut for keeping the mice in traps and making our Italian Bistro dining experience mouse free.

  12. lincolnparadox says:


    @AcidReign: You’re probably right. This employee had a bone to pick, and if she had told her supervisor first, then called the HD, she’d at least have a chance at damages in court.

    The manager put out traps “just in case.” If he saw the mice first, he might have done the right thing and called the Health Inspector.

  13. Smashville says:

    @lincolnparadox: Oh…she has a HUGE chance. Ever hear of the whistleblower’s law?

  14. Smegzor says:

    I don’t know what rights you get in the US but here in NZ Pizza Hut would have been stung for lost wages at the very least. Employers here can’t just fire whoever they please.

  15. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    I think the employee should be lauded by Pizza Hat management for being responsible and pro-active in ensuring the safety of Pizza Hut customers. It’s hard for me to think of a reason why any employee, at any level, should ever be fired for calling the health department for reporting a serious health problem ASAP.

    It seems to me that Pizza Hut has some explaining to do.

  16. thejbs says:

    I dunno, I’m all for Pizza Hut getting screwed but if you were a smart employee call the manager first instead of the health department.

    If you worked at a bar, and called the police if you saw an underage drinker before even telling your boss, you should be fired for being a jerk.

  17. JPatterson1987 says:

    @Smashville:
    She doesn’t have a case. Pizza Hut most likely employs via employment at will, meaning she can be fired for any time at any reason. There are a few exceptions to these rules such as federal statues relating to discrimination, but this doesn’t apply. Some state have other protections, but this is most likely not protected. As for whistle blowing, the only true whistle blowing that is protected is financial, i.e. Sarbanes Oxley.

  18. swalve says:

    If you are driving a car with failed taillights, you replace the bulbs. You don’t call the police on yourself.

  19. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Nothing brings back memories of the Old Country and the soft music and dimly lit quaint Italian bistros of old Roma like…Pizza Hut? Or is Bistro Italiano for “Now with more mice!” (Hey, it works for Chuck. E. Cheese!)

    @Smegzor: Employee rights? As a citizen of a “Right to work” state, I’m unfamiliar with the concept. The boss can pretty much fire you if he doesn’t like the color of your tie. More like “Right to fire you.”

    I too am confused however…if I found live mice in the glue traps, I would have called my manager, not the health department. That would have only been a last resort action.

  20. bossco says:

    I don’t understand why the employee didn’t talk to her manager first. If traps were set out by a contractor, then obviously management was try to take care of the problem, calling the Health Department would be a last resort. I have worked in many restaurants and hotels. Rats and mice are always a problem. Proper building maintenance and abiding by the rules will usually help, but sometimes mice get in anyway. I do really dislike the use of glue traps, there are much more humane ways to catch vermin.

  21. bossco says:

    I really don’t think that Management had any right to fire this employee.

  22. EtherealStrife says:

    Heh that’s nothing. I used to work at Baskin Robbins and we too had problems with mice. Not only did I once find a dead maggot-covered (they were dead too) mouse on top of one of the ceiling tiles (there was a brown spot showing through, so I took a look), but one time I saw a mouse leap out of a half used box of cones. We always worked in twos, and the other guy didn’t see it, so I didn’t bother reporting it (it was near the end of a particularly long shift, and I figured my eyes were acting up on me). A little later he was using one of the cones from the box and noticed some uniform chunks of the cone missing. When he dumped out the cones on the counter over half of em were chewed to some extent, and enough “chocolate sprinkles” fell out of the box to fill a dixie cup. We went through some of the other boxes of cones and found that many of them had been nibbled on too. The owner was informed, and gave each of us a particularly large gift certificate “for Christmas” (the incident occurred in December). No health inspection, citation, or closure.

    Given the amount of uh sprinkles, I’m sure many of the cones we served in the preceding weeks were taste-tested.

    If for some reason you go to Baskin Robbins, always get your ice cream in a cup. Or just don’t go there.


    And as far as this Pizza Hut Worker, eh. The place was already attempting to correct the problem, so I’m not sure why she called in the Health Dept. Still, it’s no reason to fire her.

  23. balthisar says:

    She had a bone to pick or lacked common sense — why would you have to call the health department over some live mice? It’s not like they were free range; an exterminator was obviously taking care of the problem.

    Mice are facts of life in ALL restaurants. They’re attracted to food and the nice environment. With proper food and hygiene, they won’t get into the goods you sell. Of course you’ve got to take measures to get rid of the bastards, but at what point is it reasonable to draw the line? If you have mice at home, is it because you’re a nasty, dirty skank?

  24. balthisar says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: that’s “at will employment” state. You might be a right-to-work state, but all that means is you can’t be forced to pay union dues if you don’t you don’t agree (for whatever reason) with the monopoly bargaining agent (the union).

  25. higginsrj says:

    @Smashville: The whistleblower law is unlikely to apply here (assuming the facts of the story as presented). The company had done nothing illegal, the employee did not work through the chain of command, etc.

    If my company has specific rules regarding the proper handling of such situations, and an employee ignores those rules and goes straight to the authorities, then yes, I can make a strong case for dismissal (which is not to say I would).

  26. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @balthisar: You’re right. It is both a “right to work” state and an “at will employment state” and I got the terms confused. It’s uncomfortable knowing that one’s boss can drop the axe any time and there’s nothing you can do about because it’s the boss’s word over yours.

    Thanks for the correction :)

  27. Shadowman615 says:

    Yeah, it seems like we’re missing some of the story. Why call the Health Department if she found mice IN TRAPS? The mouse traps were there to take care of the mouse problem, correct? It looks like they were working. So I agree, this employee must have had other motives for calling the health department.

    @CRSpartan01: The restaurant does not necessarily have to be unclean or unsanitary to attract mice. Of course, the mice themselves are a problem and should be dealt with, but a well-cleaned facility can still develop mouse problems — they’re sneaky little bastards.

  28. Namilia says:

    Ugh, Raleigh. I’m also in North Carolina and the story doesn’t suprise me too much having worked at a Taco Bell. Y’all are right; this is a right to work and at will employment state and it really stinks.

  29. bigvicproton says:

    people still go to piazza hut?

  30. Gev says:

    @Smegzor: Well if the employee was actually fired for reporting the mice then the employee would have some legal grounds to stand on.

    Chances are the employee got fired for some other reason like clocking in a minute late or some other minor infraction and the timing of the termination was just a “pure coincidence.”

  31. spartan789 says:

    Doesn’t this violate the whistle-blowing law? Or does that not count since it’s not technically “illegal” to serve food with rodents in the building?

  32. ExecutorElassus says:

    by the way, “fire at will” (which is what “employment at will” really means) means that you can fire for NO reason, but you can’t fire for a BAD reason. if she had been rebuffed by the chain of command, and then fired for blowing the whistle, that’s a bad reason.

    even if she didn’t, firing her for reporting a problem (and obviously the HD didn’t think live mice in the traps was a problem already addressed, or they wouldn’t have closed the place) is dodgy at best. making up an obviously bogus reason is even more dodgy.

    i agree that there’s more to this story. i’m curious to see how it plays out.

  33. bbbici says:

    What do you think is on the Mouse-Lover’s Pizza?

  34. shdwsclan says:

    I believe there is a whistle blower law that will protect her from being fired, and she can sue, unless everyone was fired when the pizza hut was closed.

  35. IC18 says:

    @bigvicproton

    Mice still go to pizaa hut?

  36. orielbean says:

    There is no whistle-blower law. There is no journalist shield law. These would be helpful for corporate and government transparency. There is a law for financial companies, if you know someone’s cooking the books, but nothing for cooking the mice or legislation.

  37. anita_job says:

    The worker should have gone to his/her management first. That’s the proper procedure if you notice something is awry in the workplace. If they don’t want to deal with it for whatever reason, you go to the next rung in the ladder above them (general manager, if need be district manager, etc). If none of them want to do anything, then go to the health department.

    Supervisors are there for a reason. They make you do your job, make them do theirs.

    Six live mice in traps is really no big deal. Is it the HD’s job to throw the traps into the trash? I’m sorry but I have to agree with PH on this one.

  38. JayXJ says:

    Surprised they fired her specifically for calling the health department. Most employers would wait 4 days and fire her on some other BS excuse.