Ex-Nike Employees Are Suing The Company For Gender Discrimnation

The Nike logo adorns the Nike SoHo store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York

The Nike logo adorns the Nike SoHo store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York

Two women filed a lawsuit against Nike Inc., alleging it discriminated against them in pay and career advancement, the latest development amid scrutiny over the company's workplace culture.

A lawsuit was filed Thursday in a Portland, Oregon, U.S. District Court against Nike by four female ex-employees. "The vast majority of Nike employees live by our values of dignity and respect for others".

Other former employees have now joined the suit, which is seeking a class action settlement.

However, attorney Laura Salerno Owens, who filed the lawsuit, said Nike continues to have a "good-old-boy's culture" in which women enter the company with lower pay and receive smaller raises and bonuses.

Plaintiff Kelly Cahill worked for Nike for four years - much of that time as a brand marketing director for Nike.com. She also said that she did not get promoted despite positive performance reviews.

Specifically, Johnston says she resigned after discovering she was paid less and was offered fewer promotions than her male colleagues who performed comparable work.

"On information and belief, he was able to negotiate a higher starting salary even though I had more relevant experience and higher-level credentials". Another former employee-also a plaintiff in the lawsuit-claims in the suit that a male coworker acted hostile toward her when she rebuked his sexual advances.

She says that she told him to stop sending her any messages not related to work, but that he kept doing it, and later refused to attend meetings she organized at work.

Before she left the company previous year, Johnston was an intermediate business systems analyst, making $75,000 annually, although she says that her responsibilities should have entitled her to a promotion that would have earned her between $85,000 and $135,000. Earlier this year, 11 top executives were ousted after reports of harassment and bullying behavior. The departures included brand president Trevor Edwards and Jayme Martin, a vice president and general manager of global categories. A word of advice to Nike for closing the gender pay gap and ending gender discrimination within the company: Just do it.

Cahill, now an employee of Adidas, contends Nike failed to act after she raised concerns of discrimination with the human resources department.

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

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