McDonald’s has accused former CEO Steve Easterbrook of being “morally bankrupt” in his motion to dismiss its legal action.

The fast food giant has said that Easterbrook, who it is suing for the $40m severance he was paid after his firing last year, should be “held responsible” for his actions.

Having been dismissed in November 2019 after he admitted to a consensual relationship with another employee, McDonalds launched legal proceedings against Easterbrook last month, claiming he lied about sexual relationships with three further employees.

In court papers filed in Delaware two weeks ago, Easterbrook’s lawyers said that the company was “improperly attempting to get out of its bargain nine months after the fact and despite admitting it always possessed the information upon which it is now relying”.

“Prior to entering into the separation agreement, McDonald’s conducted a thorough investigation involving ‘independent outside counsel’, who advised McDonald’s independent directors, its board and its general counsel,” they said.

“The separation agreement was therefore, and unequivocally, a well thought-out and bargained-for exchange involving sophisticated parties.”

Yesterday, the company accused Easterbrook’s team of a “brazen attempt at table-turning” and said their response was an attempt to claim that he “cannot be liable because, as a matter of law, he did not hide his misconduct well enough.”

“Easterbrook’s suggestion that, his lies notwithstanding, McDonald’s got a good enough deal by ridding itself of him has no legal merit,” the filing said.