C: amirali mirhashemian – Unsplash

Fast food giant McDonald’s is being sued for systematic discrimination by over 50 Black former franchisees.

Those initiating the case are claiming that a routine form of discrimination based on race prevented the franchisees from operating successful businesses and even caused some to close.

McDonald’s has reportedly denied all such claims.

The legal case was filed earlier in the week in a Chicago federal court and is said to accuse McDonald’s of pushing Black franchisee owners to open their stores in less profitable neighborhoods

“McDonald’s intentionally and covertly deprived plaintiffs of the same rights enjoyed by white franchisees,” the claim says.

“But for plaintiffs’ race, McDonald’s would have offered plaintiffs profitable restaurant locations … rather than forcing them out after decades of sweat and tears dedicated to the franchise” it continues.

Between US$4 and 5 million is being claimed in compensation per store for a total of 20 stores, according Ferraro Law Firm, representing the franchisees, and claiming breach of contract by McDonald’s.

“These allegations fly in the face of everything we stand for as an organization and as a partner to communities and small business owners around the world,” the company responded in a statement, adding, “we are confident that the facts will show how committed we are to the diversity and equal opportunity of the McDonald’s System.”

It is understood claimants “operated restaurants in a wide variety of communities throughout the country, a fact that undermines the allegations in their complaint.”

“It is also highly inaccurate to suggest that McDonald’s evaluates Black franchisees differently than other franchisees or offers Black franchisees different financial terms than other franchisees,” McDonald’s continued.

“The evidence will show that those allegations are categorically false.”

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