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Shareholders sue Nike, charging it with culture of harassment

Shareholders sue Nike, charging it with culture of harassment

Nike Inc. shareholders have filed a lawsuit against the company and its directors and officers, charging it with maintaining a systematic “boys’ club” toxic culture.

This culture at the Beaverton, Oregon-based athletic wear firm “resulted in bullying, sexual harassment and garnered discrimination of the Company’s female employees,” says the complaint, which was filed in state court in Portland, Oregon. The litigation was filed Aug. 31, but just publicized.

It said one of the defendants, former Nike Brand President Trevor A. Edwards, was “one of the club’s ringleaders” who has been “unjustly enriched by tens of millions of dollars instead of being fired for cause and held accountable for the harm that he has caused to the Company.”

The lawsuit charges the company’s human resources department “only reinforced and exacerbated this hostile work environment,” and complaints to it “were often completely ignored, especially since the HR Department was also subject to similar complaints about his behavior towards women.”

“For years dissatisfaction among women festered and left them feeling ignored, harassed, and stymied in their careers,” said the complaint, many of whose sections have been redacted.

The complaint said, “Even when armed with knowledge of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination by NIKE’s senior management, the Individual Defendants did nothing to address this toxic environment.”

The defendants are being charged with breach of fiduciary duty and waste of corporate assets while Mr. Edwards is also charged with unjust enrichment.

The lawsuit seeks at least $10 million from all the directors and officers and at least an additional $10 million against Mr. Edwards, among other funds.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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