'Sexism, Bullying Rampant': Nike Employee Surveys Reveal Firm's Toxic Culture

A woman employee wrote in a survey that Nike was a "giant men's sports team, where favoritism prevails."

2 min read

(Trigger warning: Descriptions of sexual harassment.)

Why is Nike in the news? A sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit against Nike has produced more than 5,000 pages of records, including surveys of women employees, wherein they have alleged sexist attitudes and behavior at the sportswear giant, in addition to corporate bullying and fears of retaliation.

What has been alleged about the firm? The documents, which date back to 2018, detail how women employees at the company were concerned that Nike's management was unlikely to address their concerns.

But why did they feel so? And what else has been alleged in the lawsuit? The Quint delves deeper into these questions.


What else does the lawsuit allege? Among other things, in one survey, obtained by Business Insider, a Nike staffer wrote that she had been directed by male co-workers to "dress sexier."

Another employee said that she had seen a male executive receiving sexual favours from a lower-ranking woman at the company's gym

A different employee quoted a male manager as saying, "No one gives a f*** about female empowerment."

Yet another employee alleged that "sloppy drunk" men embraced women co-workers or invited them to "work dinners."

Women called names: The surveys describe a pressure-cooker environment where women felt they were treated as inferior and called "bitch," "honey," and "girls", according to Business Insider.

The lawsuit states that several women at the firm circulated anonymous surveys asking about alleged instances of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

In one of the surveys, one woman wrote that the sportswear brand was a "giant men's sports team, where favoritism prevails and females couldn't possibly play in the sandbox."

Were these incidents reported to the HR? According to Business Insider, the women employees rarely reported these incidents to human resources as they believed that the department would not handle them seriously.

A woman wrote in a survey, "(employee resources) and HR at this company are a joke." 

Another staffer employed by Nike wrote that "females at this company have felt very little power to change a culture and environment that has been and continues to be disrespectful to women."

How did Nike react? The Guardian quoted the company as saying that that it does not comment on active litigation.

Mark Parker, the current executive chairman of Nike, received the surveys in March 2018. At the time, he was CEO of the company.

Days after receiving the surveys, he announced a management rejig and responded to the employees with an apology. After Parker received the surveys, at least 11 executives left the firm. 

(With inputs from Business Insider, The Guardian.)

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