McDonald’s sues former CEO Easterbrook, alleging he lied about his relations with workers

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Steve Easterbrook, Managing Director of McDonald’s Corp., speaks at the opening of the company’s new headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, the United States, Monday, June 4, 2018.Joshua Lott | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McDonald’s is suing former CEO Steve Easterbrook for allegedly lying during the company’s internal investigation into his behavior, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.The board of the fast food chain announced in November that it had terminated Easterbrook for maintaining a consensual relationship with an employee and had chosen Chris Kempczinski as its successor. McDonald’s is now alleging that new information about Easterbrook shares has come to light, which has prompted the company to further investigate.

An investigation reportedly revealed that Easterbrook lied to the company and destroyed information about his inappropriate behavior, including three more sexual encounters with employees before his dismissal. The evidence uncovered includes dozens of photos and videos of nude or sexually explicit women – including images of the employees – which were taken in late 2018 or early 2019 and sent as attachments from her account. corporate messaging to his personal email, according to the lawsuit.

Easterbrook also approved “an extraordinary stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars” for one of the employees while they were involved in a sexual relationship, according to the complaint.

The board said it would not have signed a separation agreement with Easterbrook if it had known about the alleged conduct. McDonald’s is suing him in Delaware state court to recover the severance pay and severance pay he received under that deal. The company said it had also taken steps to prevent it from exercising stock options or selling stocks from outstanding stock awards.

Easterbrook’s separation agreement included 26 weeks of compensation. In 2018, he earned $ 15.9 million in total compensation, including a base salary of $ 1.3 million. He was also eligible for a pro-rata payment to meet the 2019 performance targets.

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