Economy

Nike Hit With Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Nike Hit With Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

"For many women at Nike, the company hierarchy is an unclimbable pyramid - the more senior the job title, the smaller the percentage of women ..."

"At Nike, the numbers tell a story of a company where women are devalued and demeaned", the lawsuit says.

In response to the suit, the company issued the following statement: "Nike opposes discrimination of any type and has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion". Johnston, who worked at Nike for almost a decade, said she was sexually harassed with nude pictures and propositions and later mistreated by her male harasser when she rebuffed his advances, according to the lawsuit. Cahill claims in 2017 she was paid $20,000 less than a male counterpart on her team performing equal work.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages, and a court order requiring Nike to pay its employees fairly without regard to gender.

The investigation has since led to the ousting of at least 11 executives and a reckoning among those remaining.

Former US executives of Nike are suing the company on grounds that it failed to pay and promote women at the same rate as men and ignored widespread sexual harassment.

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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. "The vast majority of Nike employees live by our values of dignity and respect for others". 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.

The CEO apologized to employees in May.

This article has been updated to include a statement from Nike. She resigned a year ago because of "the hostile work environment, HR's ineffective response to her complaints, and the lack of promotion opportunities because of her gender", according to the lawsuit. According to the suit, they also filed official complaints that other female employees were harassed.

Johnston even recounted a work relationship turned sexual (non-consensually) where a male colleague to let up his sexting, which took a graphic turn once he began sending her screen shots of his swoosh.

Other former employees have now joined the suit, which is seeking a class action settlement. Upon rejecting her co-worker's advances, Johnston claims he treated her negatively. Her superiors did not allow her to move positions to avoid her harasser, the lawsuit said.


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