4 female ex-Nike employees sue company

The Nike swoosh logo graces the front of the Niketown store in downtown Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. Shoe and athletic gear maker Nike Inc. reports its fiscal first-quarter earnings after the market closes. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Four women who used to work for Nike have filed a federal lawsuit against the company, alleging it violated state and U.S. equal-pay laws and fostered a work environment that allowed sexual harassment.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the suit filed Thursday in Portland is among the first to hit the Oregon company since a wave of complaints about pay disparities and bad managers became public earlier this year.

Nike responded to those complaints by ousting at least 11 executives in March and April.

Attorney Laura Salerno Owens says Nike continues to have a “good-old-boy’s culture” in which women enter the company with lower pay, and receive smaller raises and bonuses.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages, and a court order requiring Nike to pay its employees fairly without regard to gender.

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Nike officials declined comment on the suit.