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McDonald’s CEO Fired for Romantic Relationship with Employee

Chicago workplace sexual harassment attorneysMcDonald’s restaurants can be found across the globe. The fast food company is arguably one of the most successful businesses in the history of the world. However, the company has also recently become notorious for the sexual harassment claims made against supervisors and employees. Recently, the CEO and president of McDonald’s was terminated after it was discovered that he had violated company policy through a romantic relationship with an employee. His termination highlights the ever-growing importance of professional boundaries in the workplace and reminds us that sexual harassment is still a major issue in the U.S. and around the world.  

Understanding Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

There are two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law: hostile environment sexual harassment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when sexual or offensive comments, jokes, or actions make a work environment intolerable. Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a superior trades or attempts to trade sexual interactions for work benefits. For example, a shift manager may imply that a worker will get preferential treatment if he or she accepts the manager’s sexual advances. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can also occur when a superior threatens a negative work consequence if the employee does not accept his or her advances.

Some employees may tolerate unacceptable behavior from a superior because they are afraid of being demoted, transferred, receiving a poor performance review, or fired. It is essential that employees understand that they do not have to tolerate unlawful behavior like this at work.

Former McDonald’s CEO Claims That the Relationship Was Consensual

The former McDonald’s CEO has maintained that the relationship he had with an employee was consensual. However, even a consensual workplace relationship between a boss and subordinate can be very problematic. Consider the following example: a boss starts a consensual relationship with a new employee. After several weeks, the employee decides that he or she does not want to continue the relationship. However, when the employee tells the boss this, the boss retaliates against the employee by assigning the employee undesirable work shifts.

Situations like these are the reason that many companies, including McDonald’s, have a strict policy regarding work relationships. The former CEO stated that he did violate McDonald’s policy and he understands why he was terminated. “I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on," he said.

Contact a Wheaton Workplace Discrimination Lawyer

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work, contact an experienced Illinois sexual harassment attorney for support. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today.

 

Sources:

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/03/business/mcdonalds-ceo-steve-easterbrook-steps-down/index.html

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