Can an employer come to a severance settlement, pay the monies and then sue to get it back? That’s the basis of McDonald’s Corp. case for US$40 million against its former CEO Steve Easterbrook.
The answer is that it can — and for reasons similar to the problems plaguing our Prime Minister and Finance Minister, specifically around the issues of dishonesty and conflict of interest.
Easterbrook was fired last year as CEO of McDonald’s for having a consensual office relationship. Even though their relationship was contrary to company policy, and even though he was the CEO, inherently responsible for upholding and being a role model for adherence to all company policies, that was probably not cause for his discharge. After all, it was only one breach and it was consensual. McDonald’s clearly did not view it as cause either. Hence, the payout.
But that was then.
Months later, an anonymous tip led to a further investigation which led to the discovery that he had not just that one, but at least four consensual relationships, three in his last year in office alone.