McDonald’s sued by Black franchisee for racial discrimination

The company is accused of relegating owners to the oldest stores in the toughest neighborhoods

A former professional baseball player who now owns 14 McDonald’s locations is suing the fast-food giant for racial discrimination.

Herbert Washington, who played with the Oakland A’s in the mid-70s, filed a lawsuit against the beloved burger chain on Tuesday in Ohio, alleging McDonald’s regulated Black owners into restaurants located in impoverished neighborhoods. Washington claims the manipulation created a $700,000 sales gap between Black-owned and white-owned franchises, according to The Detroit News.

Read More: Over 50 Black former franchisees sue McDonald’s for discrimination

“By relegating Black owners to the oldest stores in the toughest neighborhoods, McDonald’s ensured that Black franchisees would never achieve the levels of success that White franchisees could expect,” his lawsuit reads, according to the newspaper.

Charm Sullivan
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

“Black franchisees must spend more to operate their stores while White franchisees get to realize the full benefit of their labors,” the lawsuit said.

McDonald’s acknowledges that “Washington is facing business challenges” and the company has “invested significantly in his organization and offered him multiple opportunities over several years to address these issues.”

In a statement, McDonald’s said Washington’s “situation is the result of years of mismanagement by Mr. Washington, whose organization has failed to meet many of our standards on people, operations, guest satisfaction and reinvestment.”

Read More: Two Black executives file lawsuit against McDonald’s alleging racial discrimination

Washington’s lawsuit comes after 52 Black former franchisees sued the company for racial discrimination last year, theGRIO reported. The plaintiffs said McDonald’s pushed them into high-risk neighborhoods. The complaint, which seeks up to $1 billion in damages, alleges McDonald’s did not provide the same opportunities to Black franchisees as white franchisees.

“It’s systematic placement in substandard locations because they’re Black,” said the plaintiffs’ lawyer Jim Ferraro to Reuters. “Revenue at McDonald’s is governed by one thing only: location.”

According to Reuters, the plaintiffs claim Black owners were placed under the McDonald’s 20-year franchise agreements in locations that mandated high security and insurance costs with below-average sales with bankruptcy as the common solution.