McDonald’s sues former CEO Easterbrook over alleged relationships with employees

Business

FILE – In a July 26, 2017 file photo, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is interviewed at the New York Stock Exchange. McDonald’s is suing Easterbrook, the former CEO, saying he lied about relationships with employees and destroyed evidence before he was fired from the company in 2019. McDonald’s fired Easterbook last November after he admitted to an improper relationship with an employee, with whom he exchanged videos and text messages.(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

CHICAGO (Reuters) — The McDonald’s Corporation filed a lawsuit against former chief executive officer Stephen Easterbrook to recover his exit package after an internal investigation showed that he had sexual relationships with multiple employees, violating company policy, the fast-food chain said in a filing on Monday.

Easterbrook “concealed evidence and lied about his wrongdoing” and had physical sexual relationships with three McDonald’s employees in the year before his termination, the filing said.

McDonald’s added that Easterbrook approved an “extraordinary” stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees in the midst of their sexual relationship.

Reuters could not immediately reach Easterbrook for comment

McDonald’s dismissed Easterbrook in November over a non-physical, consensual relationship with an employee, which the board determined violated company policy.

In November, the company said Easterbrook was eligible for six months of severance pay, which would have been $675,000, based on his 2018 base salary of $1.35 million. He was also eligible for a prorated payment for hitting 2019 performance targets.

“Easterbrook’s silence and lies — a clear breach of the duty of candor — were calculated to induce the Company to separate him on terms much more favorable to him than those the Company would have offered and agreed to had it known the full truth of his behavior,” McDonald’s said in the filing.

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