Pregnant Popeye’s Worker Fired After Robbery, Threatens $5.5 Million Lawsuit

A pregnant Popeye’s shift manager has threatened to sue the Atlanta-based fast food chain following her dismissal over financial loss during an armed robbery.

On March 31, a Houston, Texas Popeye’s franchise was robbed at gunpoint. The financial loss from the robbery was $400, but now Popeye’s is looking at a $5.5 million lawsuit, according to this CBS report.

Marissa Holcomb of Channelview, Texas, was fired from Popeye’s last week following an armed robbery. The robbery was captured on security cameras. The suspect entered the Popeye’s franchise wearing a beanie and waving a gun, before instructing all present to “get on the floor.” The gunman then grabbed Holcomb (who was working as a shift manager at the time) by the back of her shirt and when she was unable to access the safe, forced her to empty the register, containing $400. Thirty-six hours later, April Holcomb was out of a job, as she was fired by the Popeye’s franchise owner for refusing to pay back the $400.

A Popeye’s spokesperson justified the termination in a statement to KHOU, stating that it is Popeye’s company policy to empty the registers into the safe when there is too much money in them. This acts a deterrent for robberies such as the one that took place. Holcomb has been reprimanded before for leaving too much money in the cash registers. The spokesperson, however, denied any knowledge of the option for Holcomb to pay the money back.

Popeye’s CEO Cheryl Bacheder released this statement.

“We recently became aware of a story in Houston involving a Popeye’s restaurant and employee. The restaurant is operated by an independent franchisee of the Popeye’s brand. We have spoken to the local franchise owner of the restaurant, and he has taken immediate action to reach out to the employee to apologize and rectify the situation. While the facts are gathered, we will closely monitor this until it is appropriately resolved. We deeply regret the distress this situation has caused.”

The Popeye’s franchise owner offered Holcomb her old job on April 22, with all of the regular benefits plus $2,000 back pay. Though she has accepted this offer now, working in a different franchise, Holcomb was initially speculative about returning to work at Popeye’s.

“I do need a way to support my kids. I don’t want to go back to a business where I’m treated the same and I just get pushed back out if something else happened.”

Holcomb’s attorney has now released a plan to launch a speculative $5.5 million lawsuit against Z&H Foods (the franchise owner) and Popeye’s. The as-yet-unnamed attorney has given the business owners 30 days to respond before a lawsuit is filed.

[Photo By David McNew/Getty Images]