Olive Garden manager fired after demanding staff ‘prove’ their pets have died

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One Olive Garden manager’s extreme approach to employee time-off has backfired spectacularly. 

The unnamed individual emailed a rant to employees at her Overland Park restaurant in Kansas over the “staggering rate” at which staff were calling off work, which was subsequently ridiculed widely on social media. 

The manager informed workers that “ANY excuse” for not coming in would no longer be tolerated, including family emergencies, illnesses and pet deaths. 

“If your dog died, you need to bring him in and prove it to us,” it read. “If you’re sick, you need to come prove it to us.”

The manager told workers that if they couldn’t handle it they should go work elsewhere, adding “I hope you choose to continue to work here, and I think we [management] make it as easy as we can on y’all.”  

The manager also cited her own track record of taking zero days off over her 11 and a half years working for Olive Garden, adding that she’d worked while sick and was even on time for work despite a crash that “totaled” her car. 

“Do you think I want to be here until midnight on Friday and Saturday?,” she continued. “No. I’d much rather be at home with my husband and dog, going to the movies, or seeing family. But I don’t, I’m dedicated to being here. As should you.” 

A screenshot of the rant went viral, sparking discussions around bad managers and presenteeism, the act of continuing to work with reduced productivity as a performative measure.

Several users on Reddit brought up that working while sick would put other employees and even customers at risk, especially in the restaurant industry. Others pointed out that zero days off in 11 years was “not a flex,” and not “something to be proud of.” 

“The hilarious part to me is that they fired her. She had so much ‘dedication’ and poof, all for naught,” another user wrote. 

What happened to the manager? 

The manager was promptly fired by higher-ups at Olive Garden on Tuesday, reported by local news station KCTV. 

A spokesperson for Olive Garden said that the message was “not aligned with [the] company’s values”.

“We strive to provide a caring and respectful work environment for our team members… We can confirm we have parted ways with this manager.”

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