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McDonald’s sues former chief executive

Image of McDonald's store in Sydney
Image of McDonald's store in Sydney
The Sky Kitchen at Sydney Airport.

McDonald’s is suing former chief executive Stephen Easterbrook for allegedly lying to the company about sexual relationships with staff, according to public filings.

The fast-food chain is trying to recover millions in compensation and severance benefits it paid out to him.

McDonald’s fired Easterbrook in November for having a consensual relationship with a subordinate and conducted an investigation into his behaviour.

“Recently identified evidence shows Easterbrook had physical sexual relationships with three McDonald’s employees the year before his termination,” the company said in the lawsuit in a Delaware court on Monday.

He also “approved an extraordinary stock grant, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for one of those employees in the midst of their sexual relationship,” according to the document.

Evidence included nude or sexually explicit photos of women, including of the McDonald’s employees, which Easterbrook sent from his corporate to his personal email account, the lawsuit said.

The probe found he lied to the company and “destroyed information regarding inappropriate personal behaviour,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Easterbrook took over as McDonald’s chief executive in 2015 and was succeeded by Christopher Kempczinski.

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