McDonald’s sues former CEO accusing him of lying and fraud.
McDonald’s has sued its former chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, in an attempt to recover tens of millions in compensation and severance payments after new allegations of sexual misconduct emerged against him. McDonald’s has not specified the amount it is asking for in damages. Instead, the fast-food company asked that the court award it “compensatory damages” and fees for attorneys, accountants, and experts.
Easterbrook, who was fired from the company last November over a relationship with an employee, The Guardian reports, allegedly hid details of three other “physical sexual relationships” with employees in the year before he left the company, according to a lawsuit filed in Delaware. The McDonald’s lawsuit, filed against Easterbrook on Monday accuses him of lying, concealing evidence and fraud. The fresh allegations against him, the company said in a securities filing and a document lodged with the Delaware court of chancery, came to light via an anonymous tipster last month.
In the company’s complaint to Delaware’s Court of Chancery, per Business Insider, McDonald’s attorneys wrote that McDonald’s first became aware of allegations that Easterbrook was engaging “in an inappropriate personal relationship with a McDonald’s employee” in October 2019. In the ensuing investigation, the company’s board found that its CEO had engaged in a “non-physical, consensual relationship involving texting and video calls” with a company employee.
“Had Easterbrook been candid with McDonald’s investigators and not concealed evidence, McDonald’s would have known that it had legal cause to terminate him in 2019 and would not have agreed that his termination was ‘without cause,’ McDonald’s’ lawyers wrote.