Friday, 19 October, 2018

Former marketer alleges unequal pay, discrimination in Nike class-action lawsuit

Nike Hit With Lawsuit From Ex-Employees Alleging Discrimination 'Women are devalued and demeaned' at Nike, two ex-employees say in lawsuit
Priscilla Morrison | 12 August, 2018, 17:32

Nike Inc was sued for sexual discrimination by former female employees who say women were "devalued and demeaned" by the company, where they are passed over for promotions, paid less than their male counterparts and ignored when they complain.

Laura Salerno Owens, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs, said Nike continues to have a "good-old-boys culture" in which women enter the company with lower pay, and receive smaller raises and bonuses.

Cahill et al v. Nike Inc. was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon. "The vast majority of Nike employees live by our values of dignity and respect for others", a spokesperson for the brand said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.

If a judge grants the class- and collective-action status sought by the plaintiffs, the lawsuit could cover more than 500 employees, their lawyers said. "For many women at Nike, the company hierarchy is an unclimbable pyramid". When the human resources department took no action, she left the company for competitor Adidas.

Nike declined comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit includes allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment as revenge for rejected advances.

When she reported the incident, one of the directors allegedly responded that "she should be less sensitive to these messages, and that people should expect more such messages".

Johnston also says her starting salary was $2,000 less than a male colleague for the same position.

More news: Seattle Man Dead After Stealing and Crashing Plane, Investigation Underway

The lawsuit cited other instances of a hostile workplace for women, including a senior employee discussing a colleague's breasts in an email and male employees repeatedly calling women vulgar names.

Since then, Nike has acknowledged issues in its diversity hiring.

Edwards, who was being groomed to be a possible successor to Parker, has been blamed in the lawsuit for creating and exacerbating a "hostile work environment".

"We, and I, missed something".

Former brand analyst Sara Johnston and producer and director Kelly Cahill are leading the suit, which echoes numerous complaints voiced in recent months regarding lack of promotions and positions of power among women at the Swoosh.

Complaints first surfaced at Nike in March when a group of women presented CEO Mark Parker with a survey on gender discrimination.

Nike also announced pay increases for 7,000 employees last month, in what the company described as an effort to "support a culture in which employees feel included and empowered".

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