More women have joined the class action lawsuit that was filed against Nike this summer. Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston initially filed suit against Nike in an Oregon federal court in August, alleging that the Oregon-based sportswear giant has created a hostile work environment for women, who are paid less and have fewer opportunities for advancement than their male colleagues despite comparable experience and performance. And in case that is not enough, the plaintiffs claim that Nike failed to address formal sexual harassment complaints from female employees.
In addition to monetary damages and injunction relief, which would bar Nike from engaging in practices that lead to gender discrimination, and an order requiring Nike to "develop and institute reliable, validated, and job-related standards for evaluating performance, determining pay, and making promotion decisions" in hopes of obliterating the current hierarchy, Cahill and Johnston are seeking class action certification in order to enable other similarly situated women to join in the suit against Nike, and since the case was filed, three other named plaintiffs joined.
In late August, former Nike staffer Lindsay Elizabeth was added to the list of plaintiffs, claiming that men in the same role as she maintained were paid between $3,000 and $20,000 per year more than her.
On Monday, Paige Azavedo, another former Nike employee joined the suit. According to Reuters, Azavedo, who served in a marketing manager role at Nike, alleges that “despite receiving high marks for her performance over more than a decade with Nike, she was never considered for a promotion and was paid less than men who did the same work.” She further asserts that it was not uncommon for Nike to “place female workers on improvement plans for ‘behavioral issues’ that were never documented or explained,” with other “women at the company cited for poor performance without adequate reasons.”
Meanwhile, on September 21, another plaintiff joined the suit, Meghan Grieve – a current Nike employee. Grieve, who has worked at Nike since 2008 and was very recently promoted to global visual presentation senior manager of its Nike Women unit, claims, "During my time at Nike, I have been paid less than male Nike employees for substantially equal work.”
Citing one specific example, Grieve says that in recent years, her annual pay has ranged from $74,275 to $88,000. On the other hand, a male colleague in the same job enjoyed a starting annual salary of $100,000. "This same colleague was moved to Men's Sportswear (a smaller role) and he retained the same salary of $103,000," Grieve asserts in her filing. "I know this,” she states, “because my male colleague has shared with me his salary."
The suit comes after Nike came under fire this spring when a group of female employees approached CEO Mark Parker with a survey they had conducted among fellow Nike employees centering on gender discrimination, which swiftly made headlines and resulted in Parker restructuring his leadership team. Parker announced that then-President Trevor Edwards, who “was being groomed to be a possible successor to Parker,” per CNBC, would retire in August, while Nike ousted at least 11 executives and announced raises for 7,000 employees after conducting an internal review of its pay practices.
* The case is Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston, et al. v. Nike Inc., 18-cv-1477 (D.Ore).