In 2003, a lawsuit was filed against the Niketown Chicago store for discrimination. After being submitted as a class certification in March of 2006 by the U.S. District Court of Illinois, the world-wide sportswear maker responded with a press release stating that “we will seek to defend our company and present facts that will rebut the allegations.” As the racism based suit recently concluded, over 400 present and former African American employees were involved in the class action lawsuit based on racism allegations which consisted of Nike Inc. paying $7.6 million and accepting affirmative steps to deter future racial discrimination cases in the Niketown store of Chicago as well as other nationwide Niketown stores. The lawsuit objectives covered African American employees who worked at the Chicago store from 1999 to the present day.
The Niketown Chicago settlement’s affirmative steps towards addressing equal opportunity within the workplace included:
- Assigning a diversity consultant to the Chicago store
- Diversity training at the Chicago store
- Delegating a compliance officer at headquarters
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that equal employment opportunity must be accessible to all employees including those of different racial groups. Equal employment opportunity protects racial groups from being discriminated against in areas of the workplace when it comes to recruiting, hiring and promotion. The Niketown Chicago racial allegations included claims of management’s common use of slurs of racism towards both customers and workers, giving African American employees lower paying jobs, and accusations of theft with store security directed solely on black workers and customers.
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