Former Nike Employees Sue Company Over Gendered Pay Gap

12 August, 2018, 17:29 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • The Nike logo adorns the Nike SoHo store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York

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.

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.

The former employees, Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston, allege that the company paid them less than male colleagues for equal work and passed them over for promotions due to their gender.

The four plaintiffs are seeking back pay for lost compensation and equity distribution, and punitive damages as well as a permanent injunction against Nike from "engaging in policies, patterns and/or practices that discriminate" because of gender.

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the case are Sara Johnston and Kelly Cahill.


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

At the time, CEO Mark Parker conceded that there were internal "reports" that "do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment".

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". She claimed in the lawsuit that she was paid $20,000 (Dh73,464) a year less in 2017 than a male co-worker doing much the same job. 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. After she refused his advances, the man bullied her. Johnston left because she'd been passed over multiple times for a promotion, the complaint alleges.

Johnston alleges that following a Nike party in 2015, she received inappropriate messages from a male colleague, one with whom she had to work with regularly and was key in deciding her performance reviews.

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. According to Cahill, Tawiah was known for referring to female employees as "dykes".

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