July 31, 2007

Nike Settles Discrimination Lawsuit, Agrees to Ombuds

Nike Inc. agreed to settle a class-action racial discrimination class action filed by 400 black employees from the Chicago Niketown store. The lawsuit alleged that store managers used racial slurs and discriminated against black. In reaching a $7.6 million settlement, Nike also agreed to other changes in its business practices, including the appointment of an ombudsman for the store. (Chicago Tribune.)

Given the size and scope of Nike's international activities, this is a very limited program. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether Nike will create an organizational or classical ombuds or an ombuds in name only. The upside is that this could be an important inroad for the profession.

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