Transgender Former Employee Sues Nike for ‘Misgendering’

Nike
Getty Images/Drew Angerer

A transgender former Nike employee has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the sportswear giant alleging discrimination.

Jazz Lyles, who once worked as a computer engineer at Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters, is claiming that the woke company mistreated her by refusing to accept her transgender “pronouns” and did not stop other employees from harassing her.

Lyles, born female, claims to identify as a non-binary person leaning toward masculinity and demanded that her Nike bosses refer to her as “they/them.” But Lyles insists that not only did her managers refuse to use her selected pronouns, they mocked her for her choices, and even retaliated when she began filing complaints, Willamette Week wrote.

The former employee claims that her fellow employees ignored her requests and that management also ignored her stream of email requests that she be treated the way she wanted to be treated.

Lyles claims that she became so upset at her requests being ignored that she asked to work from home. But when her contract ended, she said the company refused to keep her on as an employee.

“Nike had a pattern and practice of turning a blind eye to reported and known harassment,” Lyles’ lawsuit claims, “instead blaming the harassed, treating them as the problem and as troublemakers, all the while failing to ever investigate or take corrective action to remedy the harassment.”

Lyles had filed a complaint with the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, which governs rules for the workplace in Oregon. Nike replied to a BOLI request for comment saying that Lyles was released because her work was “mediocre,” and has a “limited skill set,” not because she is transgender.

Several Nike employees also told BOLI that no one was aware that Lyles wanted to be called “they/them.”

Her complaint at BOLI was closed when she filed her civil rights lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

In response to this latest lawsuit, Nike said: “Nike is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion, and respect where everyone can succeed and realize their full potential.”

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