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McDonald's files suit against former CEO after alleged sexual relationships with employees

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Monday 10 Aug 2020

McDonald's files suit against former CEO after alleged sexual relationships with employees

(Sharecast News) - Fast-food giant McDonald's has filed a lawsuit against former chief executive Steve Easterbrook after he allegedly lied to the board regarding the extent of his relationships with employees.

The suit claims Easterbrook, who McDonald's ousted in November, misled investigators about sexual encounters with three employees in the year before the split, with the restaurant chain now looking to reclaim the former CEO's $42m exit package.

At the time of his departure, McDonald's said Easterbrook had violated company policy and "demonstrated poor judgment" by choosing to engage in a consensual relationship with a company employee.

However, legal documents filed on Monday stated an internal investigation had uncovered relationships with other staff members and evidence that Easterbrook had lied and destroyed records as part of an effort to conceal his actions.

"The investigation confirmed that the alleged relationship had occurred and revealed that it had been a non-physical, consensual relationship involving texting and video calls," according to the complaint.

McDonald's also alleged that Easterbrook falsely claimed the relationship was "the only one of an intimate nature" he had ever maintained with an employee and that he'd also stated he had never engaged in a sexual relationship with an employee.

But the investigation team uncovered evidence in the form of "dozens of nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit photographs and videos" of various female employees sent as attachments on emails from Easterbrook's work account to his personal one and also uncovered that Easterbrook had "approved an extraordinary stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees in the midst of their sexual relationship".

McDonald's alleges that by lying to the board, Easterbrook led them to believe that his firing could be considered "without cause".

As of 1525 BST, McDonald's shares were down 0.78% at $203.00 each.

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