Judge Tosses Racial Bias Suit by Black Franchisees Against McDonald’s

Judge Tosses Racial Bias Suit by Black Franchisees Against McDonald’s

2021-06-10 12:38:39

A federal judge in northern Illinois has dismissed a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by African-American McDonald's franchisees who accused McDonald's of directing them to underperforming stores.

U.S. District Court Judge Harry D. Leinenweber ruled that Plaintiff's black franchisees failed to provide specific facts to support their legal claims. The court also ruled that, even if discriminatory practices were involved, the claims had exceeded the two-year statute of limitations, as the last acquisition by either plaintiff was in 2012.

Leinenweber gave the plaintiffs 30 days to file an amended complaint.

Two brothers, James Byrd Jr. and Darrell Byrd, who have been McDonald's franchisees for decades, took the lawsuit to class action status.

The judge said the complaint failed to link any alleged discriminatory behavior by McDonald's managers and executives to discrimination experienced by plaintiffs or an alleged class member. Plaintiffs did not even allege that Plaintiffs or alleged class members were subject to any of these allegedly discriminatory policies.

The main complaint alleged was that "McDonald's growth strategy was predatory in nature, targeting black consumers, markets and territories by sending black franchisees into black neighborhoods with high overheads — including higher security, insurance and employee turnover — where white franchisees refused to open restaurants." own and exploit.”

This alleged discriminatory practice has reduced the number of black franchisees and widened the income disparities between black and white franchisees, the complaint said.

The complaint alleged that "

McDonald's decided to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the plaintiffs did not allege intentional discrimination and "except for" causation. McDonald's also argued that the cases being complained of are all time-barred by the statute of limitations.

Plaintiffs objected that their complaint sets out a pattern and practice of McDonald's that occurred during the franchise terms and thus qualifies for the "continuous violation" exception to the statute of limitations

But the court disagreed, noting that the Supreme Court has ruled that "discreet acts" such as termination, non-promotion, refusal to transfer or refusal to employ are "easily identifiable" and do not constitute continuing violations. , but claims are those that "can and should be brought in a timely manner."

The court ruled that the allegation that McDonald's is sending black franchisees to economically undesirable locations is "clear pre-contractual conduct and subject to the two-year statute of limitations."

McDonalds's faces a new lawsuit from more than 50 black former franchisees who complain that they were pressured by the company to open stores in crime-ridden areas and subsequently denied financial aid to white franchisees.

The fast food chain has also been sued in Los Angeles for $10 billion by media entrepreneur Byron Allen, who accuses the company of racial discrimination for not advertising enough with Black-owned media.


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