February 5, 2023

Recently released surveys paint a bleak picture of the toxic culture for women within Portland-based sportswear giant Nike.



Courteous company.

Nike logo.

The surveys, known as the Starfish Surveys, are an explosive part of 5,000 pages of unsealed legal documents about an ongoing lawsuit against Nike for gender discrimination. Although employees completed the surveys in 2018, the content was only made public last month after a legal challenge from Insider, The Oregonianand the Portland business magazine.

Nike employees took the surveys after they got tired of the company culture. According to the New York Times, the surveys were then delivered in a package to the CEO, Mark Parker.

The investigations expose sexual harassment, bullying and other toxic behavior in the Nike workplace.

“Maybe if you dressed nicer I’d be on time,” a man from the company reportedly told a female Nike employee. “Take off that baggy jacket and show some skin.”

A bad face for Nike

Nike is one of the most successful sportswear companies in the world. The company reported quarterly earnings this week that beat investor expectations and sent its shares up about 10% on the news, according to CNBC.

But the company’s reputation was turned upside down in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, as female employees began speaking out internally and externally about a culture that was often disparaging and demanding of them, according to the then NYT. -report.

Ten Starfish Surveys are now publicly available, but employees say about 100 were collected per Insider.

The surveys provide information about what employees have experienced at the company. According to Insider, many women said HR was a “joke” and that women didn’t have the power to influence society at the company “which is and continues to be disrespectful to women”, and that it is a “boys’ club”.

Another woman said she walked into the company’s gym and saw an employee being given oral sex by an employee who was not as high up the company ladder. One employee reported that a manager “called a favor” to avoid getting in trouble for calling an employee below him a “bitch.”

As Insider noted, Nike lost several executives after its 2018 internal investigation. But one person, Laura Salerno Owens, an attorney for the victims in the gender discrimination case, argued against the idea that the toxic behavior only applies was on a small group of people, which Nike said in 2018.

“It wasn’t limited to one industry or one department… And it wasn’t limited to one manager. This was a common experience across the company.”

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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