A Black franchisee with restaurants in Cleveland has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with McDonald’s Corporation for $33.5million.
Earlier this week, McDonald’s reported that a settlement had been reached between Herb Washington, the former Oakland Athletics speedster, and the restaurant chain.
Washington’s 13 restaurants will be purchased by McDonald’s.
The $33.5 million was “no more than what we deem a fair price for the value of the restaurants,” according to the company.
“While we were confident in the strength of our case, this resolution aligns with McDonald’s values and enables us to continue focusing on our commitments to the communities that we serve,” the corporation said. The company added that “discrimination has no place at McDonald’s.”
“I will no longer give up my seat on the bus,” Washington told reporters after the filing, echoing civil-rights icon Rosa Parks’ sentiments.
According to the lawsuit, the restaurant chain confined Black franchisees to its oldest locations in urban areas. As a result, the corporation insured that people like Washington would never achieve the same success as their white counterparts.
His suit alleges he attempted to buy a site on Cleveland’s West Side with higher sales and volume, but McDonald’s turned him down.
“Black owners average around $700,000 less in annual sales per store than white owners,” the lawsuit says. “This is not a coincidence.”
The lawsuit claims McDonald’s had 377 Black franchisees in United States in 1998, but there were only 186 when the suit was filed. During that time, McDonald’s restaurant locations were growing.
Following the filing, the company stated that over 30% of its franchisees are “racially diverse.” It claimed that inadequate management was to blame for Washington’s troubles.
McDonald’s further stated that the company is committed to assisting its franchisees in improving their operations. According to published sources, the corporation said last week that it will spend $250 million on minority franchisees.
Washington was a college sprinter at Michigan State and briefly played for the Oakland Athletics in the 1970s before starting his career at McDonald’s.