McDonald’s Scandal In the States

Now for some slightly salacious (non-COVID related!) QSR news: Amid a legal battle against former CEO Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s in the United States is now investigating whether he covered up for other employees, with the company looking into misconduct within the human resources department.

McDonald’s filed a lawsuit earlier this month, claiming it uncovered evidence that Easterbrook hid three sexual relationships with employees and approved a stock grant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for one of those workers.

That court filing came as the result of an anonymous tip, which also included claims of inappropriate behaviour from the human resources department and other employees. 

“Our board and CEO are committed to leading with integrity,” McDonald’s said in a statement.

“Since being appointed CEO in November, Chris Kempczinski has installed a new chief people officer, announced refreshed values with input from employees around the world, and has committed to making these values part of everything we do. We will continue to make changes, where necessary, to support all parts of our organisation.”

Easterbrook was fired in November after he revealed a consensual relationship with a McDonald’s employee. Under Kempczinski, McDonald’s has worked to improve its company culture after it was reported that parties and late-night socialisation happened among executives and employees under Easterbrook.

McDonald’s former human resources leader, David Fairhurst, left the company soon after Easterbrook was fired. At that time, the brand didn’t indicate why Fairhurst was fired, but it’s now saying the executive was fired due to misconduct. That hasn’t been the only change to the department. Melanie Steinbach, who was promoted to McDonald’s U.S. chief people officer in June, left the company in August for unknown reasons. 

McDonald’s is partnering with a consulting firm to conduct surveys and interviews with employees. Bloomberg reported that the surveys and listening sessions will start next month and that the results will be released later in the year.