A 17-year-old Five Guys employee has been fired after calling a group of police officers "piggies," along with other "derogatory remarks."
The unnamed teenager made the comments while working at one of the burger chain’s locations in Howell, N.J, on Jan. 17, NJ.com reported. Five police officers reportedly entered the restaurant around 8 p.m., after which the employee “mouthed off to them,” Five Guys district manager Cortney Pechillo told the outlet.
Andrew Kudrick, chief of the Howell Township Police Department, first shared the alleged incident in a Facebook post on Jan. 18, during which he called the encounter an "isolated incident caused by a poor decision by a part-time employee."
"Whether it’s a police department or a business, sometimes one employee can cause a lot of damage," Kudrick wrote, adding that he had already met with two managers to discuss the situation.
Kudrick’s post, along with another that was shared on "Howell Happenings NJ," a local Facebook group, stated that the 17-year-old called the officers "pigs" and "piggies" as they entered the restaurant, sarcastically asking other employees to "get out the pork."
Both posts also confirmed that another worker — another manager, according to Kudrick — was visibly laughing during the incident. However, the police chief said he later spoke with that manager, who said their reaction was solely based on how uncomfortable they felt.
"I am confident this incident was handled swiftly and appropriately," Kudrick wrote on Facebook. "It is definitely not the culture of this business."
Pechillo, the district manager, confirmed that the incident had in fact been handled. She told NJ.com that she had received a call about the comments shortly after the officers left the restaurant, after which she told the manager on duty to immediately fire the employee.
"[It was] a stupid kid saying something he shouldn’t have," Pechillo said. "I’ve been here 11 years and I don’t run the company this way. Immediate action was taken and we’ll go from there."
The Five Guys incident comes just weeks after a series of controversial police encounters at restaurants chains. In December, two police officers in California claimed they were temporality denied service at a local Starbucks, which led to the company apologizing.
In November, a wide-ranging controversy broke out in Oklahoma after a police officer was allegedly served a cup with the word "pig" printed on it.