(Reuters) – McDonald & # 39 ;s Corp. said on Thursday that they had reached an agreement with former CEO Steve Easterbrook, who resolved a lawsuit in which the hamburger chain had claimed that he covered up and lied about his sexual relations with employees.
As part of the agreement, Mr. Easterbrook returned share awards and cash worth over $ 105 million that he received as a severance pay in 2019, McDonald & # 39 ;s said in a statement.
McDonald & # 39 ;s sued Mr. Easterbrook in August 2020, nine months after receiving severance pay, claiming that he never gave board members a complete picture of their relationships with employees.
The company said when it fired Mr. Easterbrook that it knew of only one, non-physical consensual relationship with an employee, but an anonymous tip after he was fired led to the discovery of dozens of sexually explicit images of women, including three employees, as Mr. Easterbrook sent to his personal e-mail from his company account.
In response to the lawsuit, Mr. Easterbrook claimed that McDonald & # 39 ;s had information about his relationships on his computer systems when they negotiated his severance package.
"Today's resolution avoids a lengthy court process and moves us beyond a chapter that belongs in our past." Chairman of the Board Enrique Hernandez Jr. in a statement to employees that Reuters saw.
McDonald & # 39 ;s said they would dismiss their lawsuit against Mr. Easterbrook with prejudice.
"During my time as CEO, I sometimes failed to uphold McDonald's values and fulfill some of my responsibilities as a leader of the company. I apologize to my former employees, the board and the company's franchisees and suppliers for do it, ”Easterbrook said in the same news release from McDonald & # 39; s.
McDonald & # 39; s said in April that new training would be required at its restaurants to combat harassment and discrimination after being prosecuted and charged. them to expose female employees in company-owned stores to extensive sexual harassment.