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Ex-Nike Employees are Suing the Company for This Reason

In a new gender discrimination lawsuit, sports apparel and footwear company Nike, is being accused of fostering a hostile workplace.

The lawsuit alleges that Nike “intentionally and willfully discriminated against [women] with respect to pay, promotions, and conditions of employment.”

According to the lawsuit filed by a group of female former employees, Nike “systematically discriminated against women and fostered a hostile work environment.”

At least eleven executives with the company had been ousted since allegations of hostility came to the surface earlier this year when a group of women presented CEO Mark Parker with a survey on gender discrimination.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon and accuses the company of “intentionally and willfully discriminated against [women] with respect to pay, promotions, and conditions of employment.”

The complaint is seeking a class-action status, and is led by former employees Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston. The two females worked at Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters.

“Women’s career trajectories are blunted because they are marginalized and passed over for promotions. Nike judges women more harshly than men, which means lower salaries, smaller bonuses, and fewer stock options,” the lawsuit reads.

“Women’s complaints to human resources about discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault, are ignored or mishandled.”

“For many women at Nike, the company hierarchy is an unclimbable pyramid – the more senior the job title, the smaller the percentage of women,” the suit also reads. “Women’s career trajectories are impacted because they are marginalized and passed over for promotions.”

“The way Nike marginalizes women at its headquarters is completely contrary to how it portrays itself to its customers as valuing women in sports and the importance of providing equal opportunity to play,” said the women’s attorney, Byron Goldstein of Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho.

In a statement to CNBC, Nike has stated, “We are committed to competitive pay and benefits for our employees. The vast majority of Nike employees live by our values of dignity and respect for others.”

The CEO had apologized to employees in May and said, “We, and I, missed something. While many of us feel like we’re treated with respect at Nike, that wasn’t the case in all teams. And if all of our teammates don’t see the same opportunities, we just can’t accept that.”

The group wants Nike to change pay practices, add a court appointed monitor, and receive back pay and an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

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