Black McDonald’s Franchise Owner Sues Company Over Alleged Racial Bias

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Nathalie Voit Contributor
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The black owner of 14 McDonald’s franchises is suing the company for alleged racial bias and discrimination, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Herbert Washington, a former star athlete who played with the Oakland Athletics in the mid- 1970s, accused the fast-food company of denying him franchising opportunities in more affluent neighborhoods and favoring white owners in a civil rights lawsuit filed on his behalf, the AP reported.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Youngstown, Ohio, Tuesday, claims the retail giant’s discriminatory policies have contributed to a $700,000 sales gap between black-owned and white-owned franchises, according to the Star Tribune.

The lawsuit claims the number of black-owned franchises has dropped dramatically from 377 in 1998 to 186 today. The number of new stores has doubled to 40,000, the AP reported. (RELATED: McDonald’s Apologizes For Sign Banning Black People At Restaurant In China)

“By relegating Black owners to the oldest stores in the toughest neighborhoods, McDonald’s ensured that Black franchisees would never achieve the levels of success that White franchisees could expect,” the lawsuit alleges.

“Black franchisees must spend more to operate their stores while White franchisees get to realize the full benefit of their labors.”

McDonald’s issued a statement in response to the lawsuit on Tuesday denying Washington’s claims.

According to the fast food giant, Washington has struggled financially with his franchises for years, a situation for which the company has “invested significantly in his organization” and provided ample opportunities for redressing the issues, the Star Tribune reported.

“This situation is the result of years of mismanagement by Mr. Washington, whose organization has failed to meet many of our standards on people, operations, guest satisfaction and reinvestment,” the statement read.

Over 50 former black McDonald’s franchise owners have made similar claims against the company in a lawsuit filed in September of last year, the AP reported.