Nike has responded following reports that employees staged a protest over the sportswear giant’s treatment of women.
According to several media outlets, employees had marched on Monday morning at the firm’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., on the same day it reopened a building named after former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar. The office space had been under renovation over recent months.
According to persons familiar with the matter, a flier that had circulated prior to the demonstration implored workers to “join us for a campus walk to celebrate what women bring to sport and to raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees.” At the event, some held up posters that read “Empower Women” and “Do the Right Thing,” reports stated.
In a statement to FN, Nike said, “We respect and welcome employees’ feedback on matters that are important to them. The flier prepared by some employees was not officially distributed by Nike. Like many organizations, Nike has a media policy.”
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On Oct. 1, the U.S. Anti-Doping Association made the decision to sideline Salazar for four years after a six-year review. The review determined that the coach had trafficked testosterone and a banned substance, had tampered or attempted to tamper with the doping control process, and had administered a prohibited IV infusion. Dr. Jeffrey Brown, a Houston-based endocrinologist who worked alongside Salazar as a paid consultant, also received a four-year ban.
Less than two weeks later, the Swoosh announced that it would “wind down” the Nike Oregon Project but reiterated its support of Salazar, who is currently appealing his suspension. In a statement, CEO Mark Parker stated that the ban “for someone who acted in good faith” is “wrong.”
Nike over the past year has made headlines about its purported workplace challenges. In April 2018, an exposé by The New York Times alleged that inequitable treatment of women at the firm and was followed by a wave of 11 or so executive departures. That same month, Nike admitted that it had fallen short in promoting women and people of color, and in July, it announced a plan to raise salaries for 10% of its workforce to help correct pay inequity.
In June, the company released its Nike Impact report, which offered an update on its newly accelerated goal of attracting and developing “an increasingly diverse, engaged … workforce.” It said that it had increased VP-level representation of women by 4%, to 36% globally, and succeeded in reaching global pay equity ratio for men to women and white to underrepresented groups in the U.S.
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