Former female employees sue Nike for sex discrimination

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"For many women at Nike, the company hierarchy is an unclimbable pyramid".

Nike's brand nightmare continues with a new lawsuit alleging sex-discrimination against female employees at the Beaverton, Oregon-based sportswear giant.

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.

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 plaintiffs are seeking unspecified monetary damages and a court order requiring Nike to pay its employees fairly without regard to gender.

Former US executives of Nike are suing the company on grounds that it failed to pay and promote women at the same rate as men and ignored widespread sexual harassment.

Nike has not issued a statement on the matter. "While many of us feel like we're treated with respect at Nike, that wasn't the case in all teams", Parker said. "The vast majority of Nike employees live by our values of dignity and respect for others".

The CEO apologized to employees in May. The lawsuit claims that Nike is at fault for failing to "assure a non-hostile work environment that provided equal opportunity". 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. "For a woman to succeed at Nike, she must far outshine her male counterparts". According to Cahill, Tawiah was known for referring to female employees as "dykes". The Wall Street Journal reported he was forced to leave Nike in April.

An unnamed Nike executive to whom Johnston reported sexually propositioned her several times in messages, sent her a nude photograph of himself and then retaliated against her, blaming Johnston for work-related problems when she rebuffed his advances, according to the complaint. She complained to her boss in early 2016.

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.

"On information and belief, he was able to negotiate a higher starting salary even though I had more relevant experience and higher-level credentials".

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