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McDonald’s Hit with Another Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

— October 29, 2020

McDonald’s was recently hit with another racial discrimination lawsuit by more franchisee owners.

McDonald’s is under fire once again over racial discrimination claims. According to the latest federal lawsuit, the fast-food giant discriminated against Black franchisees. The plaintiffs are current franchise operators and they’re hoping the suit is granted class-action status. The suit was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs include two brothers who own McDonald’s franchises in Tennessee. One brother is James Byrd, and the other is Darrel Byrd. 

Image of McDonald's Plaza, located in Oak Brook, Illinois
McDonald’s Plaza, located in Oak Brook, Illinois; image courtesy of Rob LaRosa via Wikimedia Commons,

The allegations in the latest suit share similarities with the suit filed back in September by 52 Black former McDonald’s franchisees. The brothers argue McDonald’s “has a predatory growth strategy that steers Black franchisees to less profitable locations in Black communities, with lower sales volumes and higher security costs, and excludes them from financial support and growth opportunities offered to white franchisees.” The suit further claims that “those practices have caused the number of Black franchisees to fall by half since its peak in 1998 and the cash flow gap between white and Black franchisees to more than triple.”

As a result of McDonald’s misconduct, the brothers “have lost 10 restaurants between them.” The suit further states:

“This model pushes Black franchisees further into debt, allowing McDonald’s to deem Black franchisees ineligible for growth and/or renewal while offering White franchisees newer, safer, and more profitable locations.”

The brothers are represented by attorney James Ferraro, the same attorney representing the plaintiffs in the suit filed in September. He said he has “received more than 50 calls from current franchisees about the desire to go after McDonald’s, but also the fear of McDonald’s literally closing them down.” He added the Byrd brothers are “willing to put their necks and their livelihoods on the line on behalf of the others.”

At the moment, the complaint is asking the court to grant the lawsuit class-action status and notes there are “186 current Black franchisees who own hundreds of restaurants.”

McDonald’s recently requested the dismissal of the September lawsuit and said the allegations go against everything it stands as a company. Additionally, a spokesperson for the company said the “statute of limitations had expired in many cases and the franchise contracts didn’t promise financial support.” The company also said, “it was illogical to suggest the company would set the franchisees up to fail when the company has an interest in seeing them succeed.”

This latest suit comes on the heels of several others filed this year. Earlier this month, three McDonald’s employees sued the company over claims managers at a Rock Island, Illinois restaurant “called Black cooks and cashiers ‘ghetto’ and ‘lazy’ and retaliated against them when they pushed back.”


McDonald’s hit with new lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against Black franchisees

Black franchisees sue McDonald’s, alleging racial discrimination

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