McDonald’s Probe of Ex-CEO Investigates HR and Coverups

McDonald’s former CEO Steve Easterbrook

Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press

McDonald’s Corp. MCD 0.01% said its continuing investigation into former CEO Steve Easterbrook’s conduct is examining whether he covered up improprieties by other employees alongside allegations of potential misconduct within the human-resources department.

McDonald’s filed suit against the former CEO following a tip that board chairman Rick Hernandez received last month about an alleged sexual relationship between Mr. Easterbrook and an employee. That tip also raised concerns about the HR department and possible improprieties by other employees, McDonald’s executives said. The company declined to provide details on allegations that it said involved the HR department.

Some former managers told The Wall Street Journal they felt HR leaders under Mr. Easterbrook ignored complaints about the conduct of co-workers and executives. Some of those people said they feared retaliation for reporting the conduct of co-workers and executives to HR.

“The board will follow the facts wherever they may lead,” McDonald’s said.

Mr. Easterbrook and his lawyer didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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