McDonald’s claims it is suing Stephen Easterbrook, the CEO it ousted last year for an inappropriate relationship with an employee, alleging on Monday it covered up relationships with other employees and destroyed evidence.
Easterbrook, according to a lawsuit, approved a special award of restricted shares worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of those employees.
The company now wants to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation paid to Easterbrook upon his departure.
McDonald’s fired Easterbrook last November after admitting to exchanging videos and texts in a non-physical, consensual relationship with an employee. Easterbrook told the company there were no other similar cases.
Based on what the company knew at the time, the McDonald’s board of directors approved a “no cause” separation agreement that allowed Easterbrook to keep nearly $ 42 million in benefits based on stocks, according to Equilar, which tracks executive compensation. Easterbrook also received 26 weeks’ salary, or approximately $ 670,000 in compensation.
McDonald’s said in a lawsuit that in July he learned of a sexual relationship between Easterbrook and three other employees before his dismissal. The company said on Monday that Easterbrook had removed evidence of those relationships – including sexually explicit photos and videos sent from corporate email accounts – from his cellphone, preventing investigators from knowing them before his dismissal. .
In a lawsuit in Delaware, McDonald’s said it would not have terminated Easterbrook without cause had it been made aware of the additional relationship.
McDonald’s is now trying to prevent Easterbrook from exercising his stock options and has said it will seek compensatory damages.
Easterbrook could not be reached immediately for comment on Monday morning.