Conduct due diligence, audit or risk/impact assessment
- Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
Type of vote
Company HQ country
that shareholders of McDonald’s urge the Board of Directors to oversee a third-party audit analyzing the adverse impact of McDonald’s policies and practices on the civil rights of company stakeholders, above and beyond legal and regulatory matters, and to provide recommendations for improving the company’s civil rights impact. Input from civil rights organizations, franchisees, corporate and franchise employees, suppliers, and customers should be considered in determining the specific matters to be analyzed. A report on the audit, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential or proprietary information, should be publicly disclosed on McDonald’s website.
Recently, the racial justice movement and the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 have focused the public’s and policy makers’ attention on civil rights and gender and racial equity. McDonald’s says diversity, inclusion and equal empowerment are deeply rooted in its brand and underpin its success. Following the 2020 racial justice protests, it committed to “fair treatment in access, opportunity and advancement for all”, and stated an aim to “dismantle barriers to economic opportunity.”
Yet, it is unclear how McDonald’s addresses racial inequality, as it reports diversity data only for US company-owned restaurants and staff, excluding an estimated 660,000 US franchise workers.21 McDonald’s states that 72% of company-owned restaurant workers belong to historically underrepresented groups, but members of these groups hold only 29.1% of US leadership roles. McDonald’s does not disclose the extent or impact of any advancement training for its low wage restaurant crew workers. Inadequate wages, wage theft, lack of comprehensive sick leave, and health and safety risks have led to strikes and lawsuits by McDonald’s workers. More than 50 complaints and lawsuits alleging sexual harassment at company-owned and franchised McDonald’s outlets have been filed since 2016.
Lawsuits by 238 current and former Black franchisees describe “systematic and covert racial discrimination” and denial of “equal opportunity to success” from practices steering them to high cost, low volume operations in Black neighborhoods. Black McDonald’s executives have sued the company alleging disparate treatment based on race. The cases are pending.
A pending lawsuit alleges that while approximately 40% of customers are Black, McDonald’s tiered advertising budget based on racial stereotypes produces lower spend with Black-owned media groups. McDonald’s states that diverse-owned media represents 4%, and Black-owned media 2%, respectively, of advertising spend.