Two black executives at McDonald’s have filed a lawsuit against the fast-food giant for allegedly discriminating against them and other black employees.
Vicki Guster-Hines and Domineca Neal, who work for McDonald’s in Dallas, claim that they endured intentional race discrimination, a hostile work enviornment and unlawful retaliation. They allege that they and other black executives have been routinely passed over for promotions, contributing to a lack of minority leaders at the company.
The lawsuit states that the number of African Americans in the top ranks of McDonald’s operations fell to seven last year from 42 in 2014.
“McDonald’s subjected them to continuing racial discrimination and hostile work environment impeding their career progress, even though they both did great work for McDonald’s, which the Company consistently acknowledged in their performance reviews,” the lawsuit says.
“And then, when they protested internally not only for themselves but for all other similarly situated African Americans, McDonald’s subjected them to unlawful retaliation that was irrational, vile, and cruel,” the suit continues.
In one particular instance mentioned in the lawsuit, a corporate employee told Guster-Hines that she was “a [n-word] like all the rest – you just believe you are better because you are a smart one,” in 2005. The suit says that the employee was promoted and later became a franchisee.
In another instance, the lawsuit contends, Guster-Hines alleges that McDonald’s executive Charles Strong called a group of five black female executives “angry black women” that “always seemed to be mad about something.
Carmen Caruso and Linda Chatman, attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said that they “will not stand silent as McDonald’s tries to peddle its misinformation in the press.”
“McDonald’s cannot hide behind ‘pseudo’ diversity that systematically excludes African Americans (and African American women in particular) from opportunities at the Company then labels them as ‘Angry Black Women’ when they protest,” the attorneys wrote.
In a statement, McDonald’s said that almost half of the company’s corporate officers are people of color, along with all of its 10 U.S. field vice presidents.
“While we disagree with characterizations in the complaint, we are currently reviewing it and will respond to the complaint accordingly,” the statement read.