Nike Hit With Law­suit for ‘ Dis­crim­i­nat­ing Against Women’

Shoes & Accessories - - Updates I International -

Two for­mer em­ploy­ees filed a law­suit against the sports­wear gi­ant al­leg­ing that it “in­ten­tion­ally and will­fully” dis­crim­i­nated against women with re­gard to pay and pro­mo­tions, and that its ma­jor­ity-male ex­ec­u­tives fos­tered a hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment at its head­quar­ters.

The plain­tiffs, Kelly Cahill and Sara John­ston, re­signed from their roles in July and Novem­ber 2017, re­spec­tively. Cahill had worked as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor at the com­pany for close to four years, while John­ston had been em­ployed as an an­a­lyst for around a decade.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Ore­gon, both quit be­cause they were be­ing paid less than their male col­leagues for sub­stan­tially sim­i­lar work and pur­port­edly had fewer pro­mo­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties. Fur­ther, they al­leged, Nike’s HR depart­ment failed to ad­e­quately ad­dress their griev­ances af­ter they brought com­plaints in­ter­nally.

The law­suit comes less than four months af­ter an ex­posé in The New York Times de­scribed a “toxic” boys’ club cul­ture, al­legedly prompted by an anony­mous in­ter­nal sur­vey con­ducted by a group of fe­male em­ploy­ees that ad­dressed sex­ual ha­rass­ment, de­mean­ing com­ments, un­fair treat­ment and other mis­con­duct, which they de­liv­ered to CEO Mark Parker.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion has since led to the oust­ing of at least 11 ex­ec­u­tives and a reck­on­ing among those re­main­ing. This spring, Nike ad­mit­ted that it had fallen short in pro­mot­ing women and peo­ple of color, and just last month, it said that it would raise salaries for 10 per­cent of its work­force to help cor­rect pay in­equity.

“At Nike, the num­bers tell a story of a com­pany where women are de­val­ued and de­meaned,” the com­plaint states. “For many women at Nike, the com­pany hi­er­ar­chy is an un­climbable pyra­mid — the more se­nior the job ti­tle, the smaller the per­cent­age of women … For a woman to suc­ceed at Nike, she must far out­shine her male coun­ter­parts.”

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