“At McDonald’s, our actions are rooted in our belief that a diverse, vibrant, inclusive and respectful company makes us stronger,” the company said, noting that 45% of its corporate officers and all of its field vice presidents are people of color. “While we disagree with characterizations in the complaint, we are currently reviewing it and will respond to the complaint accordingly.”
Carmen Caruso, a Chicago-based attorney representing Guster-Hines and Neal in the lawsuit, said Wednesday both employees are on a leave of absence from their positions at McDonald’s.
The lawsuit, which recounts years of alleged racial discrimination, is seeking undisclosed monetary damages, but cites over $2 million in lost pay and benefits for Guster-Hines and “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for Neal.
Guster-Hines, who has an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, joined McDonald’s in 1987 as a management trainee, according to the lawsuit. She rose through the ranks to become a regional director of operations, among other roles, but was repeatedly passed over for higher-level executive promotions at McDonald’s by an “unwritten policy of racial discrimination that impeded her rise,” the lawsuit alleges.
For example, the lawsuit cites a racial slur allegedly directed at Guster-Hines by an Ohio regional vice president in 2005. She reported the incident to her superiors, but McDonald’s did “absolutely nothing” in response, the lawsuit alleges.
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