Nike accused of violating gender wage equality laws in class-action suit

Nike Hit With Lawsuit From Ex-Employees Alleging Discrimination

"Women came into the company paid less than men, then they are ranked more harshly and, as a result, got smaller raises and bonuses", she told the Oregonian/OregonLive.

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

"Nike opposes discrimination of any type and has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion", a Nike spokeswoman said Friday.

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

The women are accusing Nike of violating both state and federal wage equality laws and pursuing a court order that would force the brand to pay employees equally, regardless of gender.

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

"Nike has been aware that class/collective members receive less pay and fewer promotions than male employees at Nike headquarters", claims the lawsuit.

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Nike has not issued a statement on the matter.

Plaintiff Kelly Cahill worked for Nike for four years - much of that time as a brand marketing director for Nike.com. "The vast majority of Nike employees live by our values of dignity and respect for others". The lawsuit claims that Nike is at fault for failing to "assure a non-hostile work environment that provided equal opportunity".

In May, Parker apologized to employees at an all-staff meeting for failing to address growing concerns of 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". It alleges she was paid $20,000 less than a male employee for doing similar work. "For a woman to succeed at Nike, she must far outshine her male counterparts".

The group's suit also touches on previous complaints against the brand, including budget cuts made to women's departments and allegations of sexual harassment and overall workplace hostility. After she refused his advances, the man bullied her.

According to WWD, Johnston claims that a male co-worker who contributed to her performance reviews sent her "inappropriate sexual propositions in messages" and nude photos. The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status. Her superiors did not allow her to move positions to avoid her harasser, the lawsuit said.

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