A lawsuit was recently filed against former McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, over allegations he took part in multiple sexual relationships with his employees.
Former McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, recently came under fire in a lawsuit filed by the very fast-food giant he used to lead. On Monday, McDonald’s sued Easterbrook over claims that he “destroyed evidence of multiple sexual relationships with his employees.” The suit states:
“Recently identified evidence shows that Easterbrook had physical sexual relationships with three McDonald’s employees in the year before his termination; that he approved an extraordinary stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees amid their sexual relationship; and that he was knowingly untruthful with McDonald’s investigators in 2019.”
According to the suit, the company launched an internal investigation last October into “Easterbrook’s relationship with a McDonald’s employee.” When the investigation concluded, it determined the relationship “was consensual and never included a physical relationship.” Around the same time of the investigation, Easterbrook told “independent outside counsel that he had never engaged in any sexual relationship with a fellow McDonald’s employee.” However, that didn’t stop the company from terminating Easterbrook in November over claims he had violated “company policies banning intimate interactions.” An independent board of directors also determined “his actions reflected a lack of judgment.” To ensure a smooth transition, the fast-food giant did not seek ‘for-cause termination.’ Easterbrook was also “granted millions of dollars in severance pay and benefits,” funds which the company is now trying to reclaim.
The suit goes on to claim that in July, McDonald’s obtained new evidence “uncovering sexual relationships between Easterbrook and other employees.” The evidence came from another internal investigation into “an anonymous report that Easterbrook had sent dozens of nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit photographs and videos of various women as attachments from his McDonald’s email account to his personal email,” according to the suit. Three of the women were McDonald’s employees.
On top of that, the suit also claims Easterbrook approved a “special discretionary grant of restricted stock units, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, to one of these McDonald’s employees shortly after their first sexual encounter and within days of their second.”
In a recent message to McDonald’s employees, CEO Chris Kempczinski said the company “recently became aware, through an employee report, of new information regarding the conduct of our former CEO, Steve Easterbrook.” He added:
“While the Board made the right decision to swiftly remove him from the Company last November, this new information makes it clear that he lied and destroyed evidence regarding inappropriate personal behavior and should not have retained the contractual compensation he did upon his exit. As such, the Company, at the direction of the Board of Directors, has filed litigation to recover the compensation he retained upon his departure from McDonald’s and align his exit payout with a ‘for cause’ termination.”