McDonald’s To Pay Black Branch Owner $33.5 Million As Major Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Is Settled

McDonald's Same Store Sales Up 7.1 Percent In January

A sign stands outside of a McDonald’s restaurant on February 9, 2009, in San Francisco. | Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty

McDonald’s is set to shell out $33.5 million to a Black owner of multiple Mickey D’s franchises to settle a lawsuit accusing the corporation of discriminating against its Black branch owners.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Herb Washington, a former baseball player who owned more than a dozen McDonald’s restaurants in Ohio and Pennsylvania at the time he filed the lawsuit in February, accused the company of systemically giving white owners more opportunity to buy restaurants in affluent neighborhoods. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Youngstown alleged that due to the racial discrepancy, “Black owners average around $700,000 less in annual sales per store than white owners.”

If Washington’s case sounds familiar, it might be because he isn’t the only Black owner to make such claims. In September of last year, more than 50 Black former branch owners sued the corporation claiming that “Black owners were offered to buy stores in poor areas that had higher security and insurance costs and were denied things like rent assistance during renovations that they said white owners were given,” the Tribune reported.

So, it appears that McDonald’s dabbles in the same racist practices in which corporations across America have been engaging for generations, which is likely why it announced last week that it would dedicate $250 million over five years to recruiting branch owners of color and to support franchise owners in “minority communities,” according to Cleveland.com.

As for Washington’s settlement, McDonald’s said in a statement that the amount Washington was paid was “no more than what we deem a fair price for the value of the restaurants.”

“While we were confident in the strength of our case, this resolution aligns with McDonald’s values and enables us to continue focusing on our commitments to the communities that we serve,” the statement continued. “Discrimination has no place at McDonald’s.”

Sounds like a company trying to save a little face after losing big due to the discrimination that does appear to have a place there, but OK.

These aren’t the only claims of racial discrimination that McDonald’s has faced.

Back in 2015, 10 former McDonald’s employees filed a lawsuit against the chain, claiming that they were fired from their jobs last year due to their race. The federal civil lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, claimed that 15 African-American employees were dismissed from locations in Clarksville, Va., and South Boston. The former employees claim that when owner Michael Simon took over the stores in 2013, he complained about the amount of African Americans working in the store. The lawsuit also claimed that he said the restaurants were “too dark” and often referred to Black workers as “ghetto” and “ratchet.”

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