- The complaint was filed in a large gender discrimination lawsuit filed in 2018.
- The alleged pay gap had been sealed in court documents. It was opened after a challenge in court.
- Nike disputed the calculation and claimed they had achieved pay parity.
Nike employees had an alleged $11,000 gender pay gap between 2015 and 2019, according to newly unveiled court documents.
The number had been sealed in a sweeping gender discrimination lawsuit, which was filed in 2018 in the wake of reports of a toxic “boys club” culture at the sportswear giant.
Nike has fought to keep the number in public view, claiming it’s an incorrect calculation. The company has also repeatedly said it has achieved pay parity.
The alleged pay gap was unveiled Wednesday after a court challenge won by Insider, the Oregonian and the Portland Business Journal. The number appears in a class certification motion that was partially redacted due to a restraining order.
News outlets backed the number’s release given the public interest in the lawsuit, which is one of the highest-profile corporate lawsuits filed in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
The alleged pay gap was calculated by a plaintiff expert using data provided by Nike during the pre-trial phase of the lawsuit. The calculation takes into account numerous variables, such as experience and education.
The plaintiffs say the calculation shows that women on average were paid less “even though women had equal or better performance, education and work experience ratings.”
“There is less than a one in 1 billion chance that these disparities occurred by accident,” the plaintiffs wrote in the motion for class certification.
An attorney for the plaintiffs declined to comment on the newly opened documents. Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the alleged pay gap.
In an April 2022 court filing, an expert witness for Nike criticized the methodology the plaintiffs used to determine the alleged pay gap.
“Far from comparing apples to apples, this aggregated approach compares apples to oranges, grapefruit, pineapples and more than 1,200 other fruits,” the expert witness wrote. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Since the lawsuit was filed, Nike has taken numerous steps to address its pay and promotion practices, including a round of raises in July 2018. It also stopped asking employees about past salaries.
In its latest corporate responsibility report, Nike said it has achieved 100% equal pay. In response to previous questions, a company spokesperson directed Insiders to the report and noted that previous reports also reveal information about equal pay.
The lawsuit awaits a ruling on a motion to have the case turned into a class action. If certified, it would move from a lawsuit on behalf of 14 named plaintiffs to a lawsuit on behalf of approximately 5,000 current and former Nike employees at the company’s headquarters in Oregon.
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