Fifty-two Black former McDonald’s franchise owners have launched a lawsuit against the company alleging it was engaged in a swath of discriminatory behavior against them, reports Associated Press. The list of alleged discriminatory practices is a long one. According to court documents seen by AP and other outlets, the lawsuit alleges those practices included:
- Steering Black franchise owners toward stores located in inner-city neighborhoods, which are less profitable and have higher insurance and security costs.
- Providing Black franchise owners with misleading financial information about stores and locations.
- Pushing prospective Black franchise owners to decide quickly when a store became available.
- Asking Black franchise owners to remodel their stores within a shorter period than white-owned stores.
- Excluding rent relief or other financial support to Black franchise owners during these remodels—relief and support white franchise owners would get.
- Denying Black franchise owners the opportunity to buy stores in better neighborhoods, which are more financially successful.
In the lawsuit, the 52 Black franchise owners are seeking $4 million to $5 million in compensation per store. The 52 plaintiffs in the case owned around 200 stores in total “before being forced to sell them over the last decade.” The report does not say why the Black franchise owners were forced to sell the stores.
Yet, while owning the stores, because of the alleged discriminatory practices by McDonald’s, the Black franchise owners say they averaged sales of $2 million per store, while the average McDonald’s store brought in $2.7 million annually between 2011 and 2016.
McDonald’s issued a statement saying it “categorically” denied the allegations, and said it was “confident that the facts will show how committed we are to the diversity and equal opportunity of the McDonald’s System, including across our franchisees, suppliers and employees.”
This post has been updated to correctly attribute the original report to Associated Press, not ABC News.