Home Airports An MCO Restaurant Just Laid Off Servers. How They Did It Was Heartless

An MCO Restaurant Just Laid Off Servers. How They Did It Was Heartless

by SharonKurheg

Amid some companies being awesome to their employees during this time of uncertainty (i.e., several supermarket chains are giving their staff $2/hour raises), and others at least being honest (so many airlines and hotels that are warning their employees of upcoming cuts), others are, apparently, neither.

It was reported on Central Florida-based cable channel Spectrum News 13 that two servers who worked at the Chili’s at Orlando International Airport (yep, THAT Chili’s) were fired last week, due to coronavirus-related slow business.

That, in and of itself, would be bad enough, but how it was done was the worst part.

Amarelis Media and Isabel Geary knew that business had been slow – on one day, Medina only had one table and one take-out order to take care of for her whole shift.

So when the women came in to work one day last week, they weren’t surprised to be asked to disinfect and clean the entire restaurant. So they disinfected all the tabletops, moved the booths, scrubbed the floorboards, wiped down all the walls, bleached what could be bleached, mopped, etc. (all at a server’s tipped minimum wage of $5.42/hr., BTW. Non-tipped custodial workers get $8.46/hr.)

What they did find surprising was, after they were done cleaning, they were individually brought into the office and told they were being laid off. Which, again, is an unfortunate expectation in these difficult times.

But the kicker? Less than a week earlier, their bosses had assured all their employees that no one would be fired.

“We had a meeting with our senior manager and he told us no one was getting laid off, that hours would be cut, there would be less of them for sure,” said Geary.

So workers were expecting their hours to be cut but could relax in at least knowing they still had jobs to go to. And then they went and fired two employees during what is one of the scariest times of our recent history.

Very nice.

The Chili’s, along with all the other chain dining locations at MCO, is operated by HMS Host, a franchisee that operates restaurants in more than 120 airports and 80 travel plazas across the United States.

Spectrum 13 tried to contact HMS Host but, of course, as of late last week, HMS still hadn’t responded.

I know that the restaurants at airports are hurting. Here are the percentage of flights that have been cancelled and, of course, airports are hurting as well. But if you tell your employees that they’re not going to be laid off, don’t tell them a few days later that they’re laid off. There are more appropriate ways to plan and carry out that kind of situation, starting with not telling your staff they won’t be laid off. What HMS Host did was just…heartless.

*** Feature photo courtesy of Orlando International Airport/Twitter

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

7 comments

stogieguy7 April 3, 2020 - 12:34 pm

This sort of thing happens all the time! It happened to my wife several years ago, following a merger and reorg, her boss told her that her job was safe. Went in to work one day and the boss called her in, said, sorry but you’re gone. When asked about his earlier reassurances, he looked away and said something to the extent that he was forced to change his plans.

Reply
ptahcha April 3, 2020 - 12:39 pm

Situation changes all the time. The servers are better off collecting unemployment while sitting at home instead of exposing themselves with potential risks.

Also, if the servers did not collect enough tips to cover the difference between tipped wage and non-tipped wage, the employer is supposed to cover the difference and pay them minimum wage.

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Joseph April 3, 2020 - 1:34 pm

You really should have just used a free photo on the MCO Chilis….easy to find online instead of Dunkin Donuts. DD is still open and not run by HMS. You’re burning the wrong people here.

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SharonKurheg April 3, 2020 - 1:42 pm

I would if I could. Unfortunately, there are very, very few “approved to reuse” photos of most eateries at MCO, least of all Chili’s. Trust me, I did look extensively. But if you know of any, please send me the link and I’ll b e happy to switch it out and, as needed, give credit.

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justin April 4, 2020 - 7:36 am

I work at a bar at the gates in MCO. I was glad to get laid off on the 21st. Mainly because I was a tipped employee. So no money to be made and a super high chance to get the virus. Now I can try to collect unemployment and plan my next steps.

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Christian April 4, 2020 - 2:00 am

A truly reprehensible way to treat your people.

Reply
Lisa April 10, 2020 - 2:02 pm

I think it was scummy to make them clean the whole restaurant and THEN lay them off! Get something out of them first, right?? Yuck!

Reply

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