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HomeFranchisesMcDonald's settles Herb Washington lawsuit by buying franchises for $33.5 million

McDonald’s settles Herb Washington lawsuit by buying franchises for $33.5 million

McDonald’s has settled for $33.5 million a lawsuit from Herbert Washington, a former professional baseball player who owned multiple McDonald’s franchises in the Rochester area and who claimed the company discriminated against him.

Washington alleged in the 2021 lawsuit that McDonald’s showed more favorable treatment to white owners and denied him the opportunity to buy restaurants in more affluent communities.

McDonald’s often awarded Black franchise owners like Washington operations in low-income neighborhoods, Washington alleged.

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

Washington began his career as a McDonald’s franchise owner with Rochester-area establishments.

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Washington was successful, and eventually had five McDonald’s in the Rochester area. However, the lawsuit alleges, he was largely limited to that number locally while white owners purchased more franchises. In 1998, he sold his Rochester-area restaurants and bought 19 McDonald’s in a single package in the Youngstown, Ohio area.

He has since sold some of those franchises, and the McDonald’s settlement purchases his Ohio operations.

“The court did not find that the company violated any laws,” McDonald’s said in a statement, according to CNBC. “Discrimination has no place at McDonald’s. While we were confident in the strength of our case, this resolution aligns with McDonald’s values and enables us to continue focusing on our commitments to the communities that we serve.”

(Includes reporting by Associated Press)

Contact Gary Craig at Follow him on Twitter at gcraig1. 

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