According to the lawsuit filed on Thursday, black workers were fired because they “didn’t fit the profile” at the Virginia restaurants.
“All of a sudden, they let me go, for no other reason than I ‘didn’t fit the profile’ they wanted at the store,” plaintiff Willie Betts, a former McDonald’s cook, wrote in a statement obtained by NBC. “I had no idea what they meant by the right profile until I saw everyone else that they fired as well. I worked at McDonald’s for almost five years, I was on time every day at four o’clock in the morning to open the store, and I never had a disciplinary write-up. They took away the only source of income I have to support my family.”
The lawsuit also alleges that McDonald’s Corp was aware of the firings but took no action.
“We asked McDonald’s corporate to help us get our jobs back, but the company told us to take our concerns to the franchisee – the same franchisee that just fired us,” plaintiff Pamela Marable said in a statement. “McDonald’s closely monitors everything we do, from the speed of the drive-through line, to the way we smile and fold customers’ bags – but when we try to tell the company that we’re facing discrimination, they ignore us and say that it’s not their problem.”
McDonald’s released a statement confirming that the company is aware of the lawsuit but cannot comment.
“McDonald’s has a long-standing history of embracing the diversity of employees, independent Franchisees, customers and suppliers, and discrimination is completely inconsistent with our values,” the company said in a statement. “McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants.”