McDonald’s sued an ousted CEO for lying about sexual relationships he had with employees.
According to the lawsuit, former CEO Steve Easterbrook misled investigators and lied about engaging in physical relationships with three employees in the year before he left the fast-food company.
McDonald’s is reportedly suing Easterbrook for the amount of his exit package : approximately $40 million.
The company cut ties with Easterbrook in November after the board determined he violated company policy.
In a statement at the time, McDonald’s said Easterbrook, who became CEO in 2015, ‘demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.’
According to the lawsuit filed Monday, an investigation determined that Easterbrook had additional relationships. The investigation also found that Easterbrook lied and destroyed records to conceal his actions.
The company also went on to details the incident that the board cited in its statement announcing Easterbrook’s departure.
‘The investigation confirmed that the alleged relationship had occurred and revealed that it had occurred and revealed that it had been a non-physical, consensual relationship involving texts and video calls,’ according to the complaint.
Easterbrook claimed that the relationship was ‘the only one of an intimate nature’ that he ever had with an employee, adding that he never had a sexual relationship with an employee that worked for him, the document said.
However, the company reopened the investigation in July after the company got an anonymous report that Easterbrook has a physical sexual relationship with an employee. The subsequent investigation found that Easterbrook had a physical sexual relationship with three employees in his final year with the company, according to the lawsuit.
Evidence of those relationships were ‘dozens of nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit photographs and videos of various women,’ including the three employees, the company said.
Easterbrook also allegedly ‘approved an extraordinary stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees in the midst of their sexual relationship,’ and lied to investigators with the company.
McDonald’s alleges that by lying to the board, Easterbook led them to believe that his firing could be considered ‘without cause’ – a designation which the board ultimately decided on, which entitled Easterbrook to certain benefits amounting to about $42 million, according to Equilar, an outside firm.
Chris Kempczinski, who replaces Easterbrook, responded to the lawsuit, saying, ‘We recently became aware, through an employee report, of new information regarding the conduct of our former CEO, Steve Easterbrook.’
‘We now know that his conduct deviated from the values in different and far more extensive ways than we were aware when he left the company last year.’
‘McDonald’s does not tolerate behavior from any employees that does not reflect our values.’
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