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Nike sued by those alleging hostile workplace

12 August 2018

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

They paint a picture of a corporate culture that systematically discriminated against women, fostered a hostile workplace and even tolerated or ignored sexual assault, according to the lawsuit.

The company acted quickly on Matheson's admission of the Nike's gender-equality shortcomings, lapses that came to light just months after chief executive Mark Parker said in a statement in March that said the company had received complaints of inappropriate behavior.

She again tried to lodge a complaint with human resources but the department took no action and the male co-worker was promoted to a position where he would work more closely with Johnston, who chose to quit, according to the suit.

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

The news comes after a tumultuous spring for Nike, which parted ways with almost a dozen executives earlier this year following reports of workplace toxic to women and a rampant boys club culture.

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

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

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One of the plaintiffs, Kelly Cahill, worked as a marketer for Nike from 2004 to 2017, most recently in a director role. "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. 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. "For a woman to succeed at Nike, she must far outshine her male counterparts".

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. According to Cahill, Tawiah was known for referring to female employees as "dykes". The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status. She complained to her boss in early 2016.

Sara Johnston alleges that a male co-worker made sexual advances and retaliated when she rejected his propositions.

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

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Nike sued by those alleging hostile workplace