Our VoiceHealth & Environment

Pizza Hut Discriminates Against Latino Workers

Katie Bezrouch • Apr 07, 2009

Pizza Hut’s recent actions are unjustifiable and unacceptable. Pizza Hut has been rapidly firing Latino workers due to Social Security “No Match” letters sent to Pizza Hut by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Some of these workers have been faithful employees of Pizza Hut for over ten years. According to the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative “The workers who were fired were all ordered to re-verify their eligibility for employment under the threat of termination because of the apparent arrival of Social Security No Match letters when neither Pizza Hut nor the workers were obliged to repeat the hiring process.” This is discrimination, and I’ll explain why.

The purpose of sending a “no-match” letter to employers and employees, is to call attention to the the fact that the company’s information does not match the records of SSA. That’s it. The employer is only obligated to notify his/her worker of the letter if the employer receives one. In fact, before 1994 the SSA didn’t even notify companies when they found a mismatch, they only notified laborers. The company is not prohibited from continuing to employ an individual who has a mismatched social security number, they are actually warned by the SSA to not take action.

On the Administration’s website , they clearly state that employers should not “take any adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against that individual, just because his or her social security number appears on the list” and that “doing so could, in fact, violate State or Federal law and subject you to legal consequences.”

Mismatches are common. Some occur when an undocumented immigrant uses a fake social security number to apply for work, and some are clerical errors. According to the SSA’s own records, there are almost 18 million discrepancies in their database, and 71% of these pertain to the records of U.S.-born citizens. So how can you legally fire someone for an error that may not have anything to do with them making a mistake? You can’t, but that is exactly what Pizza Hut is doing.

The Chicago’s Workers’ Collaborative is supporting the Pizza Hut workers that have been released from their positions due to no-match letters. They are asking that people who also feel this is an unjustified termination of employment take action. Supporters should call the president of Pizza Hut, Scott Bergren (972) 338-7700, and urge him to put a stop to the firings.

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