McDonald’s has filed a lawsuit on Monday naming its former chief executive Steve Easterbrook. The giant food-chain company is suing Easterbrook over allegations of lying about his relations with employees. The filing indicated that the ex-CEO, who was ousted in November last year, manipulated the probe about his involvement in sexual links among three employees.
Lawsuit vs ousted chief
The price of the lawsuit is $40 million. It was about the same amount of his departure severance pay plus prorated bonuses. Easterbrook was pushed out of the company on 2019 over violating company policy. This was due to demonstration of “poor judgment involving a… consensual relationship with an employee,” per the company’s statement.
McDonald’s had launched an internal investigation regarding the matter after receiving an anonymous tip in July. The nameless report points to Easterbrook having physical sexual relationship with an employee during his leadership, a year before his exit.
Breaking News: McDonald’s sued its former CEO, Steve Easterbrook, alleging that he had concealed evidence of sexual relationships with 3 employees https://t.co/fxmiyswi1L
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 10, 2020
According to the documents filed, the company reported what they found on an internal probe conducted last month. It said they discovered Easterbrook’s attempts of covering up other staff relationships he had engaged in.
McDonald’s further mentioned they had evidence that the ousted executive deceived the investigation. The food retail chain said Easterbrook even deleted emails that include nude photos of women, involving company employees. Unbeknownst to him, a company server had retained such records.
Furthermore, the probe also learned that the former exec “approved an extraordinary stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees in the midst of their sexual relationship.”
Against company values
On the same day, incumbent CEO of McDonald’s who replaced Easterbrook, Chris Kempczinski, noted in a memo that the company is not tolerating acts that go against McDonald’s values. He wrote: “We now know that his conduct deviated from our values in different and far more extensive ways than we were aware when he left the company last year.”
A business professor from University of Notre Dame, Timothy Hubbard, commented on the issue per The Reuters. “Letting CEOs off with a free pass and a large paycheck is not getting the message across.”
Previously, Easterbrook, during his step down, wrote in a statement that his “consensual relationship with an employee” was a “mistake.” His lawyers have yet to comment on the latest lawsuit.