Nike Workers Stage Walkout over Alleged Harassment of Female Employees

Getty Images/Natalie Behring

Nike employees staged a walkout on Monday to protest the alleged mistreatment of female employees on the same day the company dedicated a new headquarters building to coach Alberto Salazar, who has been accused of harassing women and has been suspended from running for doping.

A flyer urging employees to join the walkout read, “Join us for a campus walk to celebrate what women bring to sport and to raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees,” according to a report at the Wall Street Journal.

A group of workers marched outside Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters toting placards and chanting slogans.

“We respect and welcome employees’ feedback on matters that are important to them,” a Nike spokesman told the media. “The flier prepared by some employees was not officially distributed by Nike.”

The walkout came on the same day the company dedicated a new building to running coach Alberto Salazar who is currently under a cloud for doping charges and claims he harassed women.

Last month, middle-distance runner Mary Cain alleged that she suffered physical and mental abuse when taking part in the Nike Oregon Project sponsored by the sportswear giant and headed by Salazar.

The now 23-year-old runner said that she and her fellow athletes were pressured to become “thinner and thinner and thinner” when training with Nike’s now-defunct Oregon Project. She adds that she was publicly shamed in front of the other athletes for not losing enough weight.

“I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever,” Cain said in a video statement. “Instead, I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike.”

The Oregon Project was headed by coach Alberto Salazar who was handed a four-year suspension in September for trafficking in testosterone after an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

In November, Nike said it was launching an investigation into Salazar’s behavior with the shuttered Oregon Project, but apparently, that was not enough to have his name removed from the new building.

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