McDonald’s to sue former CEO amid claims of past relationships with employees

McDonald’s says it is suing Steve Easterbrook, the CEO it ousted last year over an inappropriate relationship with an employee.

The fast food chain is alleging that Mr Easterbrook covered up relationships with other employees and destroyed evidence.

McDonald’s fired Mr Easterbrook last November after he acknowledged exchanging videos and text messages with an employee. He told the company that there were no other similar instances.

McDonald’s sign
McDonald’s sign

Based on what the company knew at the time, McDonald’s board approved a separation agreement “without cause” that allowed Mr Easterbrook to keep around 40 million dollars (£36 million) in stock-based benefits plus 26 weeks of pay, amounting to compensation of about 670,000 dollars (£603,000).

McDonald’s says in a lawsuit that it has since become aware of sexual relationships between Mr Easterbrook and three other employees prior to his firing.

The company said Mr Easterbrook removed evidence of those relationships from his mobile phone, preventing investigators from learning about them prior to his firing.

In a lawsuit filed in Delaware, McDonald’s said it would not have fired Mr Easterbrook without cause if it had known of the additional relationships.

McDonald’s is now attempting to block Mr Easterbrook from exercising his stock options and said it will seek compensatory damages.