McDonald’s Fires CEO for Office Fling. Does Your Worksite Have a Dating Policy?

McDonald’s announced Sunday that its president and CEO Steve Easterbrook was forced out after showing “poor judgment” by engaging in a “consensual relationship” with an employee. Kempczinski was also elected to the board of directors. Joe Erlinger, president of international operated markets, will take over as head of McDonald’s USA, the company said. In its most recent earnings report, on October 22, McDonald’s said profits dipped 1. Revenues at the company, which has 38, restaurants in more than countries, edged up 1. The fast food giant notched a healthy 5.

Love in the workplace: Here’s why McDonald’s had to fire CEO Steve Easterbrook

The fact that Mr. Easterbrook had a relationship with a co-worker is not unusual. Office romances, for better and worse, have been a feature of the workplace probably for as long as there have been workplaces. That a person in a position of privilege within a business organization chose to ignore rules that apply to others is also not novel.

CHICAGO — The ouster of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook over an growing prevalence of company dating policies in the #MeToo era —.

Question marks over whether consensual workplace relationships are ever OK have come to the fore this week after the high-profile firing of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. Experts say there are no hard and fast rules, however, when it comes to policy and policing of romantic relationships within organizations. The firing of Easterbrook, announced Sunday , has served as a timely reminder to workers of the pitfalls of workplace relationships — however consensual they may be — and it’s no surprise that most people prefer discretion when it comes to romance in the workplace.

A study on work romances in the U. Easterbrook was widely credited with turning the company’s fortunes around since taking over the leadership in The share price more than doubled during his tenure. But McDonald’s said Sunday that it dismissed the chief executive because “he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.

McDonald’s code of conduct states that “in order to avoid situations in which workplace conduct could negatively impact the work environment, employees who have a direct or indirect reporting relationship to each other are prohibited from dating or having a sexual relationship. For his part, Easterbrook said the relationship was a mistake and agreed “it is time for me to move on. There are a number of other reasons why workplaces might want to discourage romance from developing, aside from any larger concerns over potential accusations of sexual harassment.

Workplace relationships could prompt concerns over individual productivity and accusations of favoritism to maintaining a professional and comfortable environment and avoiding possible disruption to that — especially in the event of a breakup. In a large organization it might not be such an issue if two employees start a relationship because if they work in different departments it won’t impact the business.

But problems can occur when two people work in the same department or when there’s a subordinate relationship with a senior colleague ,” she said.

Commentary: McDonald’s and the perils of wooing at work

The fast food giant said former president and CEO Steve Easterbrook demonstrated poor judgment when he had a consensual relationship with an employee. In an email to workers, Easterbrook acknowledged the relationship and said it was a mistake. In , he joined PepsiCo in its corporate strategy and development business before taking on the role of vice-president of marketing for its non-carbonated beverages unit in North America.

The policy is not intended to prevent employees who work together from dating, since it’s very likely that couples will meet at work. However, the policy needs to.

Although no law bans managers from having consensual romantic relationships with subordinates, many employers have policies against such behavior because it can cause productivity and morale issues and lead to sexual-harassment and other legal claims against the employer. On Nov. Easterbrook then sent an e-mail to McDonald’s employees acknowledging the relationship and violation of the company’s personal conduct rules.

Business Insider. A few days after Easterbrook’s discharge, McDonald’s announced that Chief People Officer David Fairhurst has left the company, but no details were provided. The Wall Street Journal. About 48 percent of respondents to a survey by Reboot Digital Marketing said they have dated a co-worker at some point, even though 46 percent of employers said they discourage employees from dating each other.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said they had a romantic relationship with their boss, and 36 percent said they had an office romance involving a married partner. While the company does not prohibit dating among workers, it says it wants an environment “where no one has to worry about avoiding unwanted invitations or unwelcome flirting. SHRM Online. Taylor, Jr. He noted that disclosure is important. USA Today.

As McDonald’s CEO learned, workplace romance can be perilous

His departure was among the most significant in corporate America in the past several years over relationships deemed inappropriate. Scrutiny of executives and their treatment of employees has intensified amid the MeToo social media movement, which highlighted instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. In June , Intel Corp CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after an investigation found he had a consensual relationship with an employee that breached company policy.

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It is understood that McDonalds’ company policy bans dating and sexual relationships between employees who have a “direct or indirect.

By Amelia J. Yes, it can and so can you. Not surprisingly, office romances sometimes bloom. What better place to meet a mate, right? Office romances create many problems. Workplace dating is a recipe for disaster in more ways than one. Assume, for example, that a superior and subordinate have been dating for some time. Their romance fizzles and things end. What if the subordinate now claims to have felt pressured into the relationship?

In Massachusetts, when a supervisor engages in harassment of a subordinate, even if there is no direct reporting relationship, a business is automatically liable for that harassment. How should you combat workplace romances?

No, CEOs Shouldn’t Date Their Employees

Subscriber Account active since. But when the relationship involves two people with unequal power, it can also be fraught with peril, especially in the MeToo era. Increasingly, US companies are adopting policies addressing workplace romances, a trend that began well before the MeToo movement galvanized a national conversation surrounding sexual misconduct. Addressing workplace romance can be complicated, but many companies remove any gray areas by forbidding managers, especially C-suite executives, from having relationships with subordinates given the potential for favoritism or lawsuits if the relationship sours.

Apr top matchmaking apps. The dating policy is listed on McDonald’s corporate website under “codes of conduct.” During the recent town-​hall.

Whether such bans on consensual relationships are really necessary has been debated many times. Based on my research on power and influence , I believe the short answer is probably not. A growing number of companies are clamping down on office romances , particularly those marked by power imbalances. And academic institutions — including my own— are also increasingly prohibiting relationships between professors and students, deeming them inherently problematic.

In the past, some organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, have been much more permissive. Opponents of these sorts of bans consider them to be paternalistic overreach, arguing that institutions ought not police the private lives and relationships of mutually consenting adults. In other words, they believe two intelligent people with good intentions should be trusted to manage the power dynamics in their own relationship.

A key problem is that people in positions of power have a hard time recognizing the coercive nature of that power in an unbalanced relationship.

Codes of Conduct

Relationships at work can be a murky area and one of the biggest employment law updates of the past few weeks has been the news that McDonalds has fired its CEO, Steve Easterbrook, for having an affair with a junior employee. Mr Easterbrook started working for the fast food colossus in and worked his way up the company. He returned to McDonalds in This high profile dismissal follows Intel boss Brian Krzanich stepping down last year after having a consensual relationship with an Intel employee.

Such policies are much less common in the UK.

Human Rights along the Supply Chain: McDonald’s Supplier Workplace New sections referencing existing policies on: Dating and Nepotism, Fraud, Financial​.

Your IP address will be recorded. Recommend this entry Has been recommended Send news. Log in No account? Create an account. Remember me. Facebook VKontakte Google. Previous Share Flag Next. I’m new to the community I’ve only commented once, so I figured that it’s time to introduce myself I started working at McDonalds this past summer for a little extra money, but what was just a part time summer gig turned into a full-time job when I was offered a manager position.

I think that it was too soon for me to become a manager but I was not about to turn down the increase in wages.

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