Herbert Washington files a racial discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s.
Herbert Washington, a Black McDonald’s franchisee, claims the fast food chain racially discriminated against him by “making him run low-volume restaurants in black neighborhoods and forcing him to unfairly downsize his shop floor” , according to a new lawsuit in Ohio federal court. In the 1990s, Washington was McDonald’s’ largest African American franchisee in the United States, responsible for more than a dozen locations. He is now fourteen and filed his lawsuit after two similar cases of racial discrimination filed by current and former Black franchisees last year.
In a separate complaint filed by 52 black franchisees in September 2020, it was alleged that their locations grossed about $ 700,000 less than the national average in the five years from 2011 to 2016, and Washington’s filing states reported McDonald’s to black franchisees in 2018 that they would fill this gap. Still, he received little help. “As I stood up for myself and other black franchisees, McDonald’s began to degrade my life’s work, forcing me to sell one store at a time to white operators,” Washington said.
Photo by Erik McLean on Unsplash
McDonald’s responded that it had invested heavily in Washington’s troubled franchise locations and given it “several” options to turn them around. McDonald’s USA filed a statement stating, “This situation is the result of years of mismanagement by Mr. Washington, whose organization has failed to meet many of our standards for people, operations, guest satisfaction and reinvestment. Its restaurants have a public record of these issues, including past health and hygiene concerns and some of the most customer complaints in the country. “
The lawsuit describes the former Major League Baseball player’s trip with the fast food giant, indicating that he was affiliated with McDonald’s in 1980. “Although he lived in Michigan for most of his life and had no ties to Rochester, New York, the company urged him to buy a restaurant in a mostly black neighborhood that left him with no other shop location options. After about two decades as a Rochester franchisee, Washington operated five restaurants. White franchisees in the area were allowed to expand much faster than Washington, which was given permission to only buy locations in low-volume neighborhoods. In 1998, he sold his New York franchise to “buy 25 locations from a White operator in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The acquisitions made him the largest black franchisee in the United States. Over the next decade, Washington bought several Cleveland locations. As a rule, the restaurants were older and were mostly in black areas with lower sales volumes. “
In 2015, Steve Easterbrook replaced McDonald’s first black CEO, Don Thompson. Under his direction, then CEO Chris Kempczinski, “McDonald’s advertising has stopped reaching black consumers,” Washington complained. The company declined to approve its promotional materials. “In other words, he had no recourse to the company’s decision to stop advertising a large part of its customer base and the resulting impact on sales,” the complaint said.
At the same time, Washington underwent unfair, overly rigorous inspections and tried to keep the sites afloat until it was eventually forced to sell the low volume stores that would by no means please potential buyers. The white franchisee, who bought three of its Cleveland restaurants, did so after receiving $ 3 million in incentives from McDonald’s. Throughout his years in business, Washington said he never received an offer like it.
Black franchisee files racial discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s
The black owner of 14 McDonald’s is suing the fast food giant, saying it discriminates against black franchisees and limits their potential profits