Two Black McDonald’s executives have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago-based, fast food giant accusing them of racial discrimination and a hostile work environment under the company’s former chief executive after they were passed over for promotions.
What We Know:
- In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Northern District court of Illinois by Victoria Guster-Hines and Domineca Neal, both of whom work out of the company’s Dallas office, both employees claim they were passed over for raises, threatened and subjected to racial slurs in what they claim to be an overall “hostile and abusive work environment,” according to the The Chicago Tribune.
- According to the lawsuit, between 2014 and 2019 McDonald’s terminated 30 black officers and demoted five. The number of black officers went from 42 to seven during that period including Guster-Hines and Neal.
- The suit also claims “white officers were not purged in anything close to the same or comparable numbers,” and added that McDonald’s didn’t engage in racial discrimination until after Steve Easterbrook and Chris Kempczinski were hired. Easterbrook, who was fired last year for admittedly having a consensual relationship with an employee, and Kempczinski are also named defendants in the lawsuit.
- According to Neal and Guster-Hines, McDonald’s used “strong-armed tactics to drive unwanted franchisees out of the system”. The complaint alleges that “the disproportionate loss of nearly one-third of African Americans in the Easterbrook and Kempczinski era was intentional or, in the alternative, it was in a reckless disregard of plainly foreseeable consequences of business decisions made by Easterbrook and Kempczinski and their minions”.
- In a statement, McDonald’s denounced characterizations in the lawsuit stating: “At McDonald’s, our actions are rooted in our belief that a diverse, vibrant, inclusive and respectful company makes us stronger.” McDonald’s also pointed out that 45% of it’s corporate officers and all 10 of it’s field Vice Presidents are people of color.
- Carmen Caruso, the attorney representing Guster-Hines and Neal, said both employees have taken a leave of absence from McDonald’s and have filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Guster-Hines and Neal are seeking millions of dollars in monetary damages and lost pay for being demoted.