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Footwear Company Under Allegations of Gender Discrimination

January 14th, 2020

A transgender computer engineer that identifies as a transmasculine/nonbinary individual is suing the well-known sportswear corporation, Nike, and its IT staffing firm for gender discrimination. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed that they were subjected to gender-identity discrimination, harassment, and retaliation as supervisors, colleagues, and independent contractors at the firm refused to address them using their preferred pronouns.

Misgendering occurs when a transgender person is addressed by pronouns that are not relative to their gender identification. The former computer programmer at Nike claimed that they were identified as a female at birth, but that they now identify as masculine and nonbinary, meaning they are not fully masculine or feminine.

Claims of Gender-Identity Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Despite their repeated efforts to educate fellow workers on gender-specific pronouns and their repeated complaints of gender-identity discrimination and harassment to their managers, the discriminating behavior continued. Documentation clearly showed the plaintiff’s openness with Nike officials about their gender identification before their employment began in 2017. They also specified their desire to be addressed using specific pronouns. As the alleged discrimination and harassment continued during their employment, the plaintiff took medical leave from their job and worked from home.

When their contract with the staffing firm ended in the fall of 2019, the plaintiff was not offered a full-time position with Nike. According to the lawsuit, the majority of IT contractors were hired by Nike when their contract ended. The plaintiff believes their failure to be offered a full-time position with Nike was in retaliation for their discrimination claims.

Nike’s Commitment to Inclusion and Representation of All Athletes

Investigators with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Statistics interviewed supervisors at Nike and the staffing firm and openly admitted that the company was ill-prepared to handle a worker with the plaintiff’s gender identification. However, the company did restate their commitment to employing individuals of all genders and promoting inclusion and respect among their employees.

A Nike corporate lawyer refuted the plaintiff’s claims that they were terminated in retaliation for their claims of discrimination and harassment. Instead, the lawyer explained that the plaintiff had a limited skill set and that they were a mediocre contractor, which resulted in them being terminated without an offer for a full-time contract with Nike. The plaintiff is seeking a minimum of $195,000 in compensatory damages and a minimum of $950,000 in non-compensatory damages.

Montgomery County LGBTQ Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Gender-Identity Discrimination

If you believe you were a victim of gender-identity discrimination, contact the Montgomery County LGBTQ lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. We will fight for your rights and obtain the justice you deserve. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

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