Following another class-action discrimination lawsuit filed against McDonald’s USA, the Chicago-based chain is fighting back and accusing current Black franchisees, Jim and Darryl Byrd, of mismanaging their restaurants.
Similar to a previous lawsuit filed by former Black McDonald’s operators, the Byrds have accused the chain of purposely placing them in underperforming restaurants. The Byrds, plaintiffs in the suit, are longtime operators who own four restaurants in Tennessee, down from 14.
Individual franchisees will decide sometime next year if they want to join the class-action suit, filed last week by the brothers’ lawyer James L. Ferraro, founder of The Ferraro Law Firm.
“We are under no illusion about what McDonald’s will do,” Ferraro said in a statement. “They will open the checkbook to the remaining Black operators and demand they not join the class. They’ll put the screws to them and force some of them to go public saying ‘all is well.’”
The brothers are asking for damages ranging from $4 million to $5 million per store.
In a statement, McDonald’s USA said the company takes these allegations very seriously, adding that the company “supports all franchisees, including those facing economic hardships.”
In the case of the Byrds, McDonald’s USA said that it has provided the brothers with “significant financial support to address their rent defaults, failure to pay suppliers and delinquent tax bills.”
The company said it has also made “multiple, good faith offers” to buy the Byrds’ remaining restaurants.
“With respect to the named plaintiffs in this complaint, Jim and Darryl Byrd, McDonald’s has invested significantly in each of their respective businesses after they ran into business difficulties caused by mismanagement of their organizations,” according to the statement.
Earlier today, McDonald’s Corp. named Reginald J. Miller as the company's new global chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, a role intended to support the company’s equity goals.
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