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McDonald’s Probing Additional Internal Cover-Ups by Former CEO

McDonald’s is now looking into whether former CEO Steve Easterbrook directed the cover up of improprieties by other McDonald’s employees.

McDonald’s  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report, in an ongoing investigation into former CEO Steve Easterbrook’s behavior on the job and whether he was entitled to the severance he received, is now looking into whether he directed the cover-up of improprieties by other employees of the fast-food giant.

McDonald's fired Easterbrook in November after learning of a consensual relationship he had had with an employee. However, in its ongoing investigation, the company received additional information that he had been involved in multiple affairs with workers, according to reports on Wednesday.

Now, the company’s board is working with outside counsel to investigate an allegation that Easterbrook helped conceal other employees’ behavior, according to the reports. It is also examining the company’s human resources department.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the additional developments late on Tuesday. 

McDonald's earlier this month announced its intentions to sue Easterbrook to recover severance paid, saying the former CEO lied to the company and destroyed information regarding "inappropriate personal behavior" during its investigation.

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The company also said Easterbrook had been involved in "sexual relationships with three McDonald’s employees in the year before his termination" and approved an extraordinary stock grant, "worth hundreds of thousands of dollars" for one of those employees during their physical relationship.

Had Easterbrook been candid with McDonald’s investigators and not concealed evidence, McDonald’s would have known that it had legal cause to terminate him in 2019 and would not have agreed that his termination was “without cause” McDonald's said in a regulatory filing. 

Easterbrook has denied the claims, arguing McDonald’s was aware of his relationships with other employees when it negotiated his separation agreement.

Shares of McDonald's were down 0.25% at $212.12 in trading on Wednesday.