McDonald’s

Illinois
Food Beverage and Tobacco

Corprate Bias Ratings

Risk Level:

Rating - Danger
High Risk

McDonald's has canceled partnerships with a conservative nonprofit, American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC), due to pressure from progressive groups. McDonald's scored a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI). By complying with the HRC’s controversial demands, McDonald's increases the risk of dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company covers transgender-related medical costs for its employees and their children and provides specific sexual orientation and gender identity-based benefits. It also uses sex and gender ideology criteria in employee recruitment, vendor selection, marketing, and philanthropic support. McDonald's forces employees to undergo multiple ideological trainings and uses its reputation, corporate funds, and political influence to support controversial sex and gender ideologies, organizations, and legislation. America First Legal filed a letter with the EEOC requesting a civil rights investigation into McDonald's over discriminatory practices in hiring. McDonald's is part of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, and does not provide its employees with protections against viewpoint discrimination. McDonald's has donated to the National Urban League (NUL), supported the Equality Act, and opposed state-level election security laws. For these reasons, McDonald's receives a High Risk rating.

Criteria
Risk Level
Rationale
Corporate Weaponization
Criteria

Has denied service to customers, suppliers, or vendors due to their political views or religious beliefs OR corporately boycotts, divests, or sanctions regions, people groups, or industries.

Risk Level
Rationale

McDonald’s received a score of 100 on the 2023 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a political stakeholder group. The company recruits employees based on sexual identity issues. The company discriminates against vendors that do not promote divisive sex and gender policies, indicating it prioritizes sexual issues over merit (1)(2). In 2012, McDonald’s canceled its partnership with the conservative nonprofit ALEC after coming under pressure from progressive groups (3). The company is a member of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, which aims to demonetize advertisements and suppress content that “vilifies” individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity, discusses “debated social issues in a negative or partisan context” or spreads “hate speech” (4)(5)(6).

Criteria

Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.

Risk Level
Rationale

McDonald’s HRC CEI rating indicates the company will not donate to non-religious charities unless they embrace controversial sexual identity policies (1)(2). McDonald’s is a corporate partner of the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and also operates its own scholarship funds (3)(4). These programs do not have any rules prohibiting collaboration with religious organizations (5). However, McDonald’s does offer an employee matching program which does not match gifts to religious organizations (6)(7).

Criteria

Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.

Risk Level
Rationale

McDonald’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company forces employees to attend multiple, controversial trainings on gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender issues, and divisive racial ideology. The company provides gender transition guidelines for its employees and a specific benefits guide with a comprehensive explanation of transgender services funded by the company (1)(2). McDonald’s does not provide viewpoint protections for its employees (3). America First Legal filed a letter with the EEOC requesting a civil rights investigation into McDonald’s over discriminatory practices in hiring (4)(5).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

McDonalds HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company agrees to allow a controversial stakeholder group focused on sexual identity issues to dictate marketing or advertising strategy (1)(2). By doing so, the company risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company has tied executive bonuses to workplace diversity, withholding some bonuses if diversity quotas are not met (3). McDonald’s supports the Equality Act (4). McDonald’s is a member of the Civic Alliance, which opposes state election reform laws (5). CEO Chris Kempczinski is a member of the Business Roundtable, but has not supported ideological initiatives (6). McDonald’s features a page supporting LGBT causes on its corporate website which outlines its various events and partnerships with LGBT organizations (7).

Criteria

Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

McDonald’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company covers transgender related costs for its employees and their children, including paid short-term leave, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, chest surgeries, genital surgeries, medical visits and lab monitoring, travel and lodging. Additionally, the company has pledged philanthropic support of at least one organization or event that promotes sex and gender ideology (1)(2). By allowing a political stakeholder group to dictate operations, the company increases health care costs and risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. McDonald’s is a member of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (3)(4)(5). The company pledged $1 million to the Black Lives Matter movement and related causes, including the National Urban League (6)(7)(8). McDonald’s is a Bronze sponsor of Out and Equal (9).

Criteria

Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.

Risk Level
Rationale

McDonald’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company publicly advocated for controversial sex and gender ideology through local, state or federal legislation or initiatives (1)(2). By allowing a political stakeholder group to dictate operations, the company risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. McDonald’s announced that it would indefinitely halt PAC funding of all federal candidates (3). The McDonald’s Corporation Political Action Committee has since resumed spending without withholding funds from the election-objecting candidates (4). However, McDonald’s made a $5,000 donation to the Equality PAC in 2022 (5).

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
February 14, 2024

Company reports are intended for educational use only. Full Disclaimer

Voting History

Date
ESG Category
Proponent
Summary of ResolutionMgmt RecTotal Vote % in Favor
5/25/23SocialThe SOC Investment GroupAnnual Report on Lobbying ActivitiesAgainst49.80%
5/25/23EnvironmentalThe Human Society of the United StatesPoultry Welfare DisclosureAgainst38.10%
5/25/23SocialThe Shareholder CommonsAdoption of Antibiotics Policy (2 of 2)Against18.40%
5/25/23SocialJohn HarringtonAnnual Report on Global Political InfluenceAgainst18.10%
5/25/23SocialThe Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, TexasAdoption of Antibiotics Policy (1 of 2)Against16.30%
5/25/23SocialThe National Legal and Policy CenterReport on Efforts in Communist ChinaAgainst3.00%
5/25/23SocialThe National Legal and Policy CenterCivil Rights & Returns to Merit AuditAgainst2.40%
5/26/22SocialSOC Investment GroupReport on Third-Party Civil Rights AuditAgainst55.14%
5/26/22GovernanceJohn CheveddenSpecial Meetings - Reduce Ownership Req. to 10%Against43.05%
5/26/22EnvironmentalAs You SowReport on Efforts to Reduce Plastic UseAgainst41.52%
5/26/22SocialNational Legal and Policy CenterReport on Lobbying Payments and PolicyAgainst34.76%
5/26/22SocialThe Shareholder CommonsReport on Public-Health Costs of Antibiotic Use and Impact on Diversified ShareholdersAgainst13.19%
5/26/22SocialJohn HarringtonIssue Transparency Report on Global Public Policy and Political InfluenceAgainst12.56%
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