PORTLAND, United States — Nike Inc. was sued for sexual discrimination by former female employees who say women were "devalued and demeaned" by the company, where they are passed over for promotions, paid less than their male counterparts and ignored when they complain.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Portland, Oregon, seeks class-action status and accuses the maker of athletic footwear and apparel of violating the Federal Equal Pay Act and similar state laws. The plaintiffs, former employees Sara Johnston and Kelly Cahill, say the company’s employment policies are hostile to women.
"The ultimate arbiters of these policies or practices are a small group of high-level executives who are majority male," the former employees say in the complaint.
Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Nike shares have gained 37 percent in the past year. The stock surged in late June, reaching a record high at the time, after North American sales rose for the first time in four quarters, signaling that Nike’s new products are catching on with U.S. shoppers. The company has been promising investors that slowing growth and revenue declines in its largest market were only a short-term trend.
The case is Cahill v. Nike Inc., 18-cv-1477, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon (Portland).
By Chris Dolmetsch; editors: David Glovin and Paul Cox.