Lawsuit: Nike Accused of Gender Discrimination by Ex-Female Employees

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Nike's alleged frat-boy corporate culture got exposed in a lawsuit by two women who say they were paid less than their male co-workers and had to put up with unchecked sexual harassment from superiors. Hence they scored lower on group projects, and received fewer benefits, all amounting to less equity within the company, even in instances where their credentials matched those of their male counterparts.

The 40-page court document filed in Nike's home state of OR details the experiences of several senior executives who worked for the sporting goods manufacturer for many years, and are asking other women to join the class action suit.

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

Nike said in a statement that the company opposes discrimination and is committed to diversity and inclusion.

But the women said their careers were hurt because of their gender.

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

The lawsuit also claimed Nike has a sexual harassment problem.

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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.

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".

Nike has not issued a statement on the matter.

The suit names former Nike brand president Trevor Edwards and former head of human resources David Ayre for creating and tolerating what the suit calls a hostile workplace for women.

CEO Mark Parker apologized to Nike employees for the hostile culture in May, according to CNBC.

The memo, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, added: "While we've spoken about this many times, and tried different ways to achieve change, we have failed to gain traction - and our hiring and promotion decisions are not changing senior-level representation as quickly as we have wanted". "While many of us feel like we're treated with respect at Nike, that wasn't the case in all teams".

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