Two women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Nike Inc., alleging it discriminated against them in pay and career advancement, according to a report in Friday's Wall Street Journal. The suit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., by two former employees, Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston, who said that they endured a hostile work culture at Nike and were paid less and had fewer opportunities than their male colleagues despite comparable performance. Johnston worked at the company for nearly a decade until she resigned from her analyst role in November; Cahill gave up her position as a director in July 2017 after almost four years there. The suit also accuses Nike of failing to address sexual harassment and other complaints from female workers. The lawsuit asks that Nike craft standards to ensure equal pay, fair promotion procedures and nondiscriminatory performance evaluations. The women also seek reinstatement at the company and back pay.
In a statement, Nike said that it "opposes discrimination of any type and has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. 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.''
Total Retail's Take: The latest developments at Nike just add to the current scrutiny over the company’s workplace culture. Nike has purged at least 11 executives amid complaints about inappropriate workplace behavior over the last few months. Recently, the company has attempted to make up for its toxic workplace culture by apologizing to employees, promoting women and raising salaries. In fact, last month Nike said it would give raises to some 7,000 staffers after an internal review of its compensation practices. While Nike has made efforts to correct past transgressions, the company's image has indeed suffered.