Four Ex-Nike Employees Sue Company For Gender Discrimination

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Four women are suing the company for disparities in pay and harboring a hostile working environment. Nike fired 11 executives for bullying earlier this year.

A lawsuit was filed Thursday in a Portland, Oregon, U.S. District Court against Nike by four female ex-employees. 

The women claim in the lawsuit that Nike intentionally discriminated against them with regard to salary and promotions. The lawsuit also alleges that the company discriminated when it came to employment conditions.

The company fired 11 executives earlier this year after an investigation found that managers had used abusive tactics against employees. CEO Mark Parker said at the time that he was upset to find corporate bullying within the company.

“I’ve been disturbed to hear from some employees of behavior inconsistent with our values. When we discover issues, we take action,” he said.

However, it is unclear whether the discrimination described in the lawsuit occurred before or after the company purged the executives. 

Nevertheless, several Twitter users noted that the company has been accused of bad behavior in the past. 

The women who filed the suit contend that a group of high-level executives condoned the hostile work environment at Nike. The lawsuit includes allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment as revenge for rejected advances. 

They also claim that several men called female employees vulgar names and that one male senior employee wrote about a colleague's breasts in an email. One woman claimed that she was propositioned by a man with naked pictures. After she refused his advances, the man bullied her.  

Cahill et al. v. Nike, Inc. by Michelle on Scribd

The four women all say that Nike violated the Oregon Equality Act as well as federal equal pay laws by paying them less than their male counterparts. They also argue that the company’s human resources department ignored their repeated complaints and that they were not given equal advancement opportunities or benefits, such as stock options.

Whatever so-called changes Parker made at Nike since the 11 executives were let go either weren't done soon enough or have not been sufficient. A word of advice to Nike for closing the gender pay gap and ending gender discrimination within the company: Just do it.

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi

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