Employees at a Five Guys restaurant in Alabama were fired by the burger chain after refusing to serve a group of police officers.
The officers, who were visiting a location in the city of Daphne on Tuesday night, allege that upon entering the restaurant a group of employees turned their backs and denied service. One officer claims he heard an employee say “I’m not serving them,” prompting the group to find dinner elsewhere, according to local reports.
Five Guys confirmed the termination of the employees in a Facebook post, adding that the store was temporarily shut down for “further education and customer service training.” It reopened to the public on Friday night.
“Five Guys and the Daphne, AL franchise want to thank the Daphne Police Department for their support in working together toward a resolution,” the post reads. “As we uphold our commitment to fair, respectful, and equal treatment for all customers, please know that the actions and sentiments of a few employees in Daphne, AL do not represent Five Guys or the local franchisee.”
The Five Guys incident is the latest in a series of confrontations between restaurant workers and police officers in recent weeks amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In June, employees of Condado Taco in Columbus, Ohio refused to fulfill a catering order made by local law enforcement officials. However, rather than terminate the employees, Condado Taco allowed workers who felt uncomfortable to step aside from the order, which was eventually completed.
“Management communicated that any team members who were uncomfortable did not have to work on the order,” Condado Taco said in a statement at the time. “A few team members chose not to complete their work shifts. While no one was fired last night and if they want it, everyone’s job remains intact, we understand emotions are high.”
That same month, three police officers in Manhattan claimed they were deliberately poisoned by Shake Shack employees after they fell ill from ingesting a mysterious substance in their milkshakes. A further investigation by the NYPD found that there “was no criminality” by workers, and the issue involved a cleaning solution that was not properly washed off of a shake machine.