Two African American executives sue McDonald’s for racial discrimination alleging black staffers are passed over for promotions
- Black McDonald’s executives Vicki Guster-Hines and Domineca Neal filed a lawsuit against the company on Tuesday in Illinois court
- They allege McDonald’s is a hostile and racially discriminatory work environment
- They allege they and other black executive are consistently looked over for promotions and the overall number of black execs has declined in past four years
- Lawsuit says racial discrimination intensified after a new group of executives was ushered in in 2015 under the leadership of ousted CEO Steve Easterbrook
- Lawsuit names Easterbrook, new CEO Chris Kempczinski, and US regional president Charlie Strong
- The women are seeking undisclosed monetary damages
Two black McDonald’s executives have sued the fast food company alleging the workplace is rife with racial discrimination as they and fellow black staffers have been consistently passed over for promotions.
The lawsuit was filed by Victoria ‘Vicki’ Guster-Hines and Domineca Neal, both senior directors at McDonald’s office in Dallas, on Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, Illinois, where the company is headquartered.
The suit claims that the Golden Arches franchise is a hostile environment with civil rights abuses against employees of color that include threats, derogatory racial comments, and preventing African Americans from moving up within the company.
The lawsuit is the latest scandal to hit McDonald’s and new CEO Chris Kempczinski who stepped in as top boss when former CEO Steve Easterbrook was fired in November for having a consensual relationship with an unnamed staffer.
Black McDonald’s executives Vicki Guster-Hines (left) and Domineca Neal (right) filed a lawsuit against the company on Tuesday in Illinois court accusing the franchise of racial discrimination and impeding them from advancing within the company. Both Guster-Hines and Neal were demoted from vice president to senior director positions in July 2018
In the lawsuit Guster-Hines and Neal say McDonald’s looked over black executives and led a ‘ruthless purge’ of top ranking African Americans at the company. The number of high ranking African Americans at the company dropped from 42 to seven since 2014.
Both Guster-Hines and Neal were demoted from vice president to senior director positions in July 2018.
However, the company also reduced the total number of officer-level positions in general over the past five years as a part of a larger restructuring.
They say that the racial discrimination intensified after a new group of executives was ushered in in 2015, when Easterbrook took the helm of the company and brought in Kempczinski.
‘In shocking ways difficult to overstate, McDonald’s under Easterbrook and Kempczinski declared war against the African American community,’ the lawsuit said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The suit names CEO Kempczinski, ex CEO Easterbrook and US regional president Charlie Strong.
The women are seeking undisclosed monetary damages. Guster-Hines cites over $2million in lost pay and benefits and Neal reported a loss of ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’.
Last year during a meeting Guster-Hines expressed concern with a small number of African American leaders at the company to Kempczinski and Melissa Kersey, a human relations executive. It’s not clear how Kempczinski responded in that meeting.
‘In shocking ways difficult to overstate, McDonald’ss under Easterbrook and Kempczinski declared war against the African American community,’ the lawsuit said. Former CEO Steve Easterbrook pictured above. He was ousted in November for having a consensual affair with a staffer
Chris Kempczinski, who worked with Easterbrook, is now CEO of McDonald’s
A McDonald’s spokesman said 45 percent of the company’s corporate officers are people of color, along with all of its 10 US field vice presidents.
‘While we disagree with characterizations in the complaint, we are currently reviewing it and will respond to the complaint accordingly,’ a spokesman said to DailyMail.com.
Guster-Hines and Neal are on leaves of absence, Chicago-based attorney Carmen Caruso, who is representing the duo, said Wednesday.
After taking over the company, Kempczinski has told employees that diversity and gender balance are his top priorities. He said that measuring diversity among employees as a percentage is a better metric than absolute numbers. He has also notably assembled a diverse group of staffers in his own executive team, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Since taking over McDonald’s Kempczinski has said he’s trying to change the boys club and party culture of the franchise and restore a more professional environment.