iLaw shares its thought on the firing of McDonalds CEO

Steve Easterbrook the chief executive of fast-food giant McDonald’s has been fired by the company after he had a relationship with another employee.

The US restaurant chain said the relationship was consensual, however,  Mr Easterbrook was removed from his position as he had “violated company policy” and shown “poor judgement”.

Responding to the organisations actions, Julian Cox, Head of Employment Law at London legal practice, iLaw, said: “It is not uncommon for businesses to have some form of relationship guidance within their employee handbook, but in reality a lot of people meet and start relationships in the workplace, so it is extremely difficult to enforce a complete ban.

“While we do not know all the details in this case, there is some general advice for both employees and employers that they should consider.

“Employees should make management aware of new relationships in the workplace wherever possible. This should not affect your employment or rights but can help managers to understand your position.

“Employers meanwhile should include a relationship policy within staff handbooks and employment contracts. This will typically layout what is and isn’t allowed within the place of work.

“Of course, issues become a lot more complex where an office relationship is either non-consensual or breaks down and employers must be mindful of any allegations made of sexual harassment or discrimination and the potential disruptive effect on other employees and the business as a whole.

“Employees relationships are a complex issue and one that should be addressed with the help of a solicitor if possible, in terms of preparing a Relationship Policy and dealing with any individual issues that may arise.”