Nike Inc.

Portland, OR: (Jul-20-07) A class action lawsuit was filed against Nike Inc. in 2003, on behalf of 400 black employees of the company's Chicago Niketown store. The suit alleged that the managers at the retail store used racial slurs to refer to black workers and customers. They also said the store segregated black employees into lower-paying jobs as stockroom workers and cashiers rather than giving them lucrative sales jobs. It claimed that managers made unfounded accusations of theft against black workers and directed store security to monitor black employees and customers because of their race.

In a settlement reached, Nike agreed to pay $7.6 million to resolve the class action suit. Further, as part of the agreement, it agreed to make a host of other changes to address diversity, such as appointing a diversity consultant to monitor the Chicago store's compliance and a compliance officer at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton. The company must also add an ombudsperson at the store and conduct diversity training for all supervisors and managers there. Nike also is required to review its human resources practice, create equal opportunity objectives for the store and review its theft-loss policies. It also will create a formal mentoring program for black employees. [FORBES: NIKE DISCRIMINATION]

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