UPDATE: McDonald’s Lawyer Issues Statement After Black Employees Sue
UPDATE (Tuesday, October 27, 2020):
Loretta Lynch, legal counsel for McDonald’s in the lawsuit detailed below, released the following statement:
“As we argue in our motion, there are legal deficiencies in the complaint that merit dismissal at this early stage in the court proceedings. Plaintiffs’ case is based on the illogical theory that McDonald’s went into business with Black franchisees for the sole purpose of seeing them fail, despite the company’s obvious interest in franchisees maintaining successful and profitable restaurants. Should this case proceed, the facts will show that discrimination did not inhibit the plaintiffs’ success as franchisees.”
Black McDonald’s workers are reportedly suing the fast-food chain over racial discrimination.
According to Business Insider, on Tuesday (October 13), the employees who worked at a Rock Island, Illinois location filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, Selynda Middlebrook, Stephanie Stevens, and Luther Gray, who is acting on behalf of his 17-year-old daughter, alleges that the location’s general manager called Black workers and customers “ghetto.”
They also claim they were given shorter hours while other employees stereotyped them as “lazy” or “smelly,” according to the complaint. In late July, Middlebrook claims she was called a “waste of space” and that her hours were cut earlier in the year.
Stevens, Middlebrook's aunt, says she was fired on the spot after she told the general manager that she should not speak about employees in such a "discriminatory and demeaning manner."
"We are sick and tired of being considered less than human and not even worthy of life," Middlebrook said on a call with reporters Tuesday.
In response to the suit, Trina Gendron, the McDonald's franchisee who owns the location, issued a statement claiming she’ll be investigating what happened.
"I am deeply committed to running a values-led organization, and discrimination, harassment or retaliation of any kind are not tolerated in my restaurants," she said. "I take these allegations seriously and am currently reviewing the complaint and investigating these allegations.”
This is at least the fourth racial discrimination lawsuit that has been filed against McDonald’s this year. Two Black executives sued McDonald's in January over “cruel” retaliation. In July, three former workers in Florida sued the company over discrimination, and later in July, 52 Black former franchisees sued McDonald’s, claiming they were not being given the same opportunities as white franchisees.