As you may have heard, Steve Easterbrook was recently dismissed from his position as President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s due to his alleged consensual relationship with a staff member, which was against company policy. It was also reported that he will receive a severance package of nearly $42 million – comprising six months of severance pay and shares/equity.
While an employee dating a subordinate is not, in and of itself, a violation of the anti-discrimination laws, such a scenario presents multiple opportunities for abuse given the inherent imbalance in the power dynamic between the two persons involved.
Easterbrook was determined to be fired “without cause” within the meaning of McDonald’s severance policy. Had he been fired “for cause” under McDonald’s severance policy his departure package would likely have looked very different.