- McDonald's investors are demanding the fast-food chain hands over internal files about what directors knew about former Chief Executive Officer David Fairhurst's sexually inappropriate dalliances with subordinates, which led to his 2020 ouster and a legal fight over $37 million severance.Three McDonald's shareholders want the company to turn over documents about Easterbrook removal and firing of Steve Easterbrook, the chain's top human resource manager, according to a lawsuit unsealed Friday in Delaware Chancery Their complaint didn't specify why they sought internal documents other than they seek to investigate alleged misconduct, but such requests are sometimes made before the company is sued by shareholders. The records of sexual discrimination among its leadership may explain the Company's history of tolerating pervasive sexual harassment and discrimination, the investors said.
The case over the propriety of Easterbrook's severance package is set to go to trial in May. It's been one of the highest-profile examples of a big business grappling with the MeToo era. McDonald's officials accused Easterbrook of lying to them about how many subordinates he had sexual relationships with and destroying evidence of those liaisons.While McDonald’s already has turned over some files about Easterbrook, the records they've provided about Fairhurst's dismissal are 'paltry', according to the investors’ complaint. The company contends the simultaneous ousters weren't related.The investors are interested in Board Records about'remedial measures taken in response to any complaints of sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and or racial discrimination' levelled against McDonald's and any probe of the company's 'HR department, according to the suit. The case is The Detectives Endowment Association Inc. v. McDonald's Corp. 2021 - 0673, Delaware Chancery Court.