Former MLB player Herb Washington won a $33.5 million settlement after suing and winning McDonald’s Corp. for a racial discrimination suit. Washington owns 14 McDonald’s franchises in Cleveland, Ohio and across the country.
Under the settlement, Washington will receive $33.5 million for dropping the lawsuit and leaving the McDonald’s system. The company will take over 13 of Washington’s franchises in exchange.
In February, the former athlete filed a lawsuit against the fast-food chain after the company blocked him from purchasing a franchise in West Cleveland. The lawsuit stated that the corporation repeatedly steered Washington towards franchises in urban neighborhoods and old stores while white colleagues were guided towards newer stores in the suburbs.
The lawsuit also accused McDonald’s of blocking Washington from buying more franchises. He went from owning 23 stores in 2017 to 14 stores in 2021. McDonald’s had 377 Black-owned franchises in 1998, but as of February 2021, there were only 186.
Washington gave a statement when he filed the suit and said McDonald’s forced him to sell franchises to white owners.
“When I stood up for myself and other Black franchisees, McDonald’s began dismantling my life’s work, forcing me to sell one store after another to white operators….I will no longer give up my seat on the bus.”
“The court did not find that the company violated any laws,” said the statement. “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.”
Washington played for the Oakland Athletics in 1974 and 1975.