A former McDonald’s manager says another worker made a racist remark to her, and she was fired for reporting the offense, according to a complaint filed with the EEOC.
Shanece Tailo is a nurse and former floor manager at a Florida McDonald’s. In January 2021, Tailo says she went through the drive-thru at a different McDonald’s location, where she asked for extra sauce from an employee she recognized. The employee tried to charge her for the sauce. When Tailo protested that it was against McDonald’s policy, Tailo said the employee responded with “You people want everything for free.”
“I understood [the other employee] to be referring to Black people when she said ‘you people,'” Tailo said in the complaint. She believes the other employee didn’t recognize her because she was wearing a mask and her nurse uniform. When Tailo lowered her mask to show her face, she says she received the sauce for free and the other worker apologized.
Tailo called McDonald’s 1-800 number for customer complaints, and texted the regional manager who was in charge of both her workplace and the one she visited. He responded by apologizing and acknowledging that McDonald’s doesn’t charge for sauce, according to the complaint.
“McDonald’s unequivocally stands behind the need for equality and fairness on both sides of the counter in our restaurants, and we do not tolerate discrimination or retaliation of any kind by anyone. We take these claims seriously and will review the allegations and take action accordingly,” McDonald’s USA told Insider in a statement.
Several weeks later, Tailo said she was called into a meeting with the regional manager and a human resources representative, who asked her to write a statement saying that the worker had not been racist toward her. When she declined, Tailo says she was presented with a statement saying the same thing. “I started to edit it, because it was not accurate,” she wrote the complaint, before the HR representative took the paper from her. Shortly after, Tailo was told her employment was terminated by the regional manager and HR employee.
“McDonald’s has made a lot of big statements about standing with Black people, but it’s clear the company only thinks of us as ‘you people’. McDonald’s can’t just say ‘Black Lives Matter’ — it needs to prove it by once and for all addressing racism that plagues its system from top to bottom,” Tailo told Insider.
Filing a complaint with the EEOC is the first step towards a potential lawsuit. “What Ms. Tailo is asking for here is to have McDonalds listen to its workers. She cares about making sure this doesn’t happen to other workers,” Amanda Lynch, an attorney with Altschuler Berzon representing Tailo, told Insider.
In the complaint, Tailo alleges that “McDonald’s was and is engaged in a pattern of discriminating against Black
employees and customers.” The company has faced racism other scandals. Most recently, activists and workers slammed CEO Chris Kempczinski for a text message sent in April to Mayor Lori Lightfoot that said: “p.s. tragic shootings in last week, both at our restaurant yesterday and with Adam Toldeo. With both, the parents failed those kids which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix.”
He was referring to the fatal shootings of 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams and 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Adams was killed in her father’s car outside a Chicago-area McDonald’s, while Toledo, whose name Kempczinski misspelled in the text, was fatally shot by a police officer.
In 2020, more than 50 Black franchisees filed a $1 billion racial-discrimination lawsuit against the company in 2020 that alleged “systematic and covert racial discrimination” on McDonald’s part.
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