Following the lawsuit, McDonald's is trying to get back stock options and related compensation that was given to Easterbrook previous year, which is estimated to be worth more than $40 million.
Disgraced former McDonald's chief executive officer Steve Easterbrook, after admitting in late 2019 that he had a non-physical consensual relationship with an employee, faces a lawsuit from the fast food giant.
McDonald's alleged that Easterbrook destroyed evidence of those relationships and sexually explicit photos and videos sent from corporate email accounts inside his cell phone.
In the suit, McDonald's said its severance plan with Mr. Easterbrook included a provision that it can stop payment of benefits and require the former CEO to pay back severance if it determined at any time that he committed an act that would have allowed him to be fired for cause.
'Agreement Based On Fraud' McDonald's signed an exit package with Easterbrook that amounts to an "agreement based on fraud", criminal defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker also told Fox Business.
Easterbrook was lovin' it until July when McDonald's received an anonymous tip that Easterbrook did, in fact, engage in a sexual relationship with another employee.
According to the complaint, the evidence against Easterbrook includes dozens of naked or explicit photographs and videos of various women, including some employees, that Easterbrook had sent as attachments to his personal email account from his work account. McDonald's board ended up approving a separation agreement "without cause" based on the information the company knew.
"McDonald's does not tolerate behavior from employees that does not reflect our values", said McDonald's President and CEO Chris Kempczinski, who was promoted following Easterbrook's departure, in a message to employees Monday.
The fast-food company had been under pressure over allegations of workplace sexual harassment before Easterbrook's termination, and Kempczinski emphasized the importance of staff and franchisees feeling able to blow the whistle on "any behavior that doesn't align with our values".
Easterbrook became CEO and president of McDonald's United Kingdom in 2006, having joined McDonald's from PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1993 as an accountant.
"[He] was knowingly untruthful with McDonald's investigators", the complaint said. Hertz Global Holdings Inc., for instance, sued its former CEO to recoup compensation after a federal investigation prompted the company to restate several years of financial results.
Since 2015, when Stephen Easterbrook took over McDonald's, the company's stock has more than doubled by the end of 2019. Last October - a month before Mr Easterbrook was sacked - McDonald's introduced a new harassment training program for its 850,000 U.S. employees. His firing and removal from the board was announced on November 3.
The law firm representing Easterbrook didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
Mr Easterbrook got $675,000 (€573,000) in severance and health insurance benefits and stock awards that were valued at more than $37m. Stockholders in May approved total compensation and equity awards for Mr. Easterbrook.
But Hubbard applauded McDonald's for reopening the investigation when new information came forward.
Mr. Kempczinski, who served under Mr. Easterbrook as the head of McDonald's US business, pledged to overhaul the company's culture after assuming the job in November.