Nike Forks Over $7.6 Million in Race Discrimination Lawsuit

According to the Chicago Tribune, Nike finally settled a lawsuit that was filed in 2003, which alleged that Nike discriminated against former and current employees of African American descent, for 7.6 million dollars. It was a class action lawsuit representing 400 current and former employees that worked at Niketown in Chicago between 1999 and the day the lawsuit was settled. In addition to the money, Nike has agreed to work on making its work force more diverse and more tolerant of diversity. For example, now Nike must have a diversity consultant specifically assigned to oversee the Chicago Niketown store. The store will now be required to train all its supervisors and managers in diversity.Nike Forks Over $7.6 Million in Race Discrimination Lawsuit

The employees claimed that Niketown managers used racial slurs, did not promote African American employees, denied African American employees higher paying positions, and searching African American employees when they left the store. If Niketown did in fact engage in such practices, they would have been in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many Illinois state laws.

After over ten year of litigation, Nike agreed to settle the employees, but continues to claim that the company did not engage in discrimination. A Nike representative stated that the company decided to settle to avoid “continued and protracted litigation.”

It has yet to be seen how this lawsuit will affect Nike’s relationship with its African American customer base.

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