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Four Ex-Nike Employees Sue Company For Gender Discrimination

12 August 2018

Four women who used to work for Nike filed a federal lawsuit alleging the company breached state and USA equal-pay laws and fostered a work environment that allowed sexual harassment.

The federal suit, filed in Nike's home state of OR, seeks class-action status and alleges that Nike violated the Equal Pay Act. Nike in this spring ousted at least 11 executives in connection with the accusations of inappropriate behavior.

The women say Nike paid them less than male counterparts at the company.

The suit doesn't ask for specific damages, but instead for Nike to implement fair pay practices throughout the organization.

"At Nike, the numbers tell a story of a company where women are devalued and demeaned", the lawsuit says. Three marketers, such as Simon Pestridge, global VP of marketing for performance categories, and Tommy Kain, director of sports marketing, also left Nike, as did Daniel Tawiah, who had been VP of global digital brand innovation. Both described a work environment prone to issues of harassment, similar to the allegations Nike has had to address in the past several months. "While many of us feel like we're treated with respect at Nike, that wasn't the case in all teams". We are committed to competitive pay and benefits for our employees. CEO Mark Parker said at the time that he was upset to find corporate bullying within the company.

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This article has been updated to include a statement from Nike. Subsequently, several top male executives announced they would leave Nike, and the company began reviewing its human-resources operations.

Cahill also alleges that a former vice president at Nike referred to women by derogatory names and singled out a female employee for harsh criticism, yelling at her in public repeatedly.

They allege that "women's complaints to human resources about discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault, are ignored or mishandled. Regardless of the evidence, HR has regularly found such complaints unsubstantiated, avoided taking any meaningful corrective or preventive actions, and otherwise failed to act to end the hostility towards women in the workplace". After she refused his advances, the man bullied her. The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status.

Johnston reported the harassment to her supervisors, but one of them "said, in effect, that Nike has a culture that revolves around alcohol. and the rise of the internet and cell phones have made drunk messages part of this generation", she alleges.

Four Ex-Nike Employees Sue Company For Gender Discrimination