Four women sue Nike for violating equal pay acts

Nike store

Four women who used to work for Nike have filed a federal lawsuit against the company, alleging it violated state and U.S. equal-pay laws and fostered a work environment that allowed sexual harassment.

The suit filed Thursday in Portland, Oregon, is among the first to hit the company since complaints about pay and bad managers became public earlier this year, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

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. Cahill claims in 2017 she was paid $20,000 less than a male counterpart on her team performing equal work.

The suit doesn't ask for specific damages, but instead for Nike to implement fair pay practices throughout the organization.

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

Nike has not issued a statement on the matter.

Johnston, who worked at Nike from 2008 to 2017, alleges that a male co-worker sent her inappropriate sexual messages and nude photographs of himself after a Nike-organized party.

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

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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.

This article has been updated to include a statement from Nike.

Johnston reported the harassment to her supervisors, but one of them "said, in effect, that Nike has a culture that revolves around alcohol. and the rise of the internet and cell phones have made drunk messages part of this generation", she alleges.

Sara Johnston says she resigned after discovering she was paid much less than her male coworkers, with whom she shared many responsibilities at the company. According to Cahill, Tawiah was known for referring to female employees as "dykes". After rejecting his advances, Jonhston says she was treated negatively in the workplace.

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The class is composed of women who said they were victims of discrimination and harassment while working for the company. Her superiors did not allow her to move positions to avoid her harasser, the lawsuit said.

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