McDonald's sues British former CEO over alleged relationships with employees

Daniel Fowler
August 10, 2020

McDonald's says in a lawsuit that in July, it became aware of sexual relationships between Easterbrook and three other employees prior to his termination.

McDonald's added that Easterbrook approved an "extraordinary" stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees in the midst of their sexual relationship.

Easterbook denied the relationship was physical, the company said, as well as having any other relationships with employees.

McDonald's said it had also taken steps to prevent Easterbrook from selling stock it had granted to him or exercising his remaining share options.

McDonald's would not have approved the separation agreement had it known the extent of his "inappropriate personal behavior", the company said, but would instead have terminated him for cause.

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McDonald's CEO Stephen Easterbrook unveils the company's new corporate headquarters during a grand opening ceremony on 4 June 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

In November, the company said Easterbrook was eligible for six months of severance pay, which would have been $675,000, based on his 2018 base salary of $1.35 million.

Easterbrook, who is credited with reinvigorating the iconic fast food giant, in 2015 launched a sweeping turnaround plan for the company, arguing that the company needed to focus more on its customers.

McDonald's is suing former CEO Steve Easterbrook to recover what he was paid in severance and final compensation, saying he lied to the company about how many romantic relationships he'd pursued with subordinates-the grounds for his dismissal.

Easterbrook and McDonald's could not be immediately reached for comment. Not to be redistributed, copied or modified in any way.

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