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Nike presents its athletic apparel as empowering to female athletes in California. However, a new gender discrimination lawsuit alleges that women at the company faced a discriminatory work environment. Two former female employees are the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit that could become a class action. Court filings detail the women's complaints about lower salaries, smaller bonuses and limited stock options.

The lawsuit alleges that human resources brushed aside complaints about harassment, discrimination and even sexual assault. One female plaintiff described a hostile workplace where women were the object of demeaning language. She informed human resources about the problems on four occasions and was ignored. The inaction and poor treatment prompted her eventual resignation.

Prior to the lawsuit, gender discrimination complaints finally broke through to management in March 2018. The Nike CEO responded by forcing out the president on the grounds that he encouraged the discrimination. The company also removed 11 other executives and raised the salaries of about 7,000 employees as a corrective measure. The lawsuit seeks a settlement that collects back pay for victims, applies punitive damages, alters pay practices and assigns a court monitor.

A person encountering workplace discrimination has the option of consulting an attorney. This step could gain an employer's attention, especially if management has proven unresponsive to complaints of mistreatment because of sex, age, race, religion, or disability. An attorney could assemble evidence to support a lawsuit by acquiring witness testimony, written company policies and payroll records. After initiating a discussion with the employer, an attorney might negotiate a settlement that compensates the person for mistreatment and lost income. When necessary, an attorney could take the case to court.

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