McDonald’s fires CEO due to relationship scandal

Farah Javed

In May 2019, McDonald’s faced more than 25 lawsuits and employee protests. 

In a statement released by the employee rights activist group, Fight for $15 and a Union, “workers to seek assistance from management after experiencing sexual harassment on the job, only to have their complaints brushed off or ignored, or, in some cases, even mocked; many felt the brunt of retaliation — from reduced hours to unwarranted discipline to termination.”

Hence, when discovered that McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, was in a relationship with his employee, he was immediately fired. 

Easterbrook was seen as abusing his power when he was found to have violated McDonald’s Standards of Business Conduct that explicitly states “a direct or indirect reporting relationship or dating or having a sexual relationship,” are strictly forbidden.

His firing, however, has led to outrage. 

Though rightfully fired, The New York Times reported that McDonald’s agreed to give Easterbrook a severance package of, “$675,000, or about half his base salary last year, according to the company’s 2018 severance guidelines.” 

The package also states he cannot work for any of McDonald’s competitors, from Burger King to 7-Eleven.

Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota denounced McDonald’s decision. She tweeted, “Meanwhile, there are hardworking McDonald’s employees who deal with low wages and retaliation for reporting sexual assault.” 

The representative highlights the injustice McDonald’s is doing to its employees by underpaying while simultaneously paying Easterbrook for work he will not do, while employees are being ignored or fired.

This isn’t the first time, however, that a man in power did not face harsh consequences for having an office relationship with an employee. 

In fact, the current #MeToo climate in the United States has held many of these bosses accountable for their actions, resulting in them being fired or stepping down.

Corporations have started cracking down on higher level positions abusing power. 

Just last year the CEO of Intel Corp., Brian Krzanich, was forced to resign due to violating the company’s self-proclaimed non-fraternization policy.  

It was later revealed that just like Easterbrook, Krzanich received a high payoff. The former Intel CEO received, “$37.5 million worth of stock awards, and some $7 million in payouts from deferred compensation, medical benefits, and from his pension plan,” as reported by Fortune.

 In both cases, the CEOs were essentially rewarded more than they were punished for breaking company policies.

A New York Post investigation discovered that Easterbrook dated the company’s public relations staffer. 

Therefore, he violated the company’s policy not once but twice, and still received an enormous monetary compensation.