On October 13, McDonald’s was hit with a federal lawsuit by three employees of it’s Rock Island location alleging a pattern of racially motivated abuse and disparate treatment. This particular complaint is just the most recent in a series of discrimination complaints against both the fast food chain itself as well as individual restaurants. This particular complaint alleges that a manager at the Rock Island store systematically reduced the hours and shifts of black employees at rates disproportionate with their white co-workers, made a number of offensive comments towards them, and then fired one black employee when she protested the dehumanizing treatment.
Earlier this year, 52 black franchise owners also filed suit against the Illinois-headquartered company that argued that the company used a number of measures to steer minority owners to stores in lower-performing neighborhoods.
The suit alleges that that McDonald’s used misleading income projections to induce them to operate franchises in certain geographical areas, compared to their white counterparts. This resulted in serious income disparities between white and black owners, since some stores have higher insurance or security costs and obviously some restaurant locations are going to be inherently better for sales than others. Due to these disparities, the members of the lawsuit had an annual average revenue of $2 million, compared to the $2.7 million national average of all McDonald’s restaurants in the same time period. Furthermore, the suit also alleges differences in the way that McDonald’s rates stores managed by black franchisees compared to white ones, resulting in more favorable terms and more growth opportunities for the white franchisees.
McDonalds has not yet responded in court to the complaint regarding the Rock island location, but as to the franchisees it has argued that the company does not force franchisees to take certain locations but rather only offers suggestions, and that the broad ratio of black franchisees at all levels within the company is comparable with it’s other franchisees.
Attorney Travis Dunn