Employment Law Clinic Settles with Nike

Joint Publicity Statement
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August 1, 2007

Nike Retail Services, Inc.  and Class Counsel representing approximately four hundred current and former African-American employees of Nike’s Niketown Chicago store have reached a settlement resolving the ongoing race discrimination litigation, Smith et al. v. Nike Retail Services, 03 C 9110.  The class action was originally filed on December 17, 2003 alleging that Nike discriminated against and created a hostile work environment for African-American employees at its Niketown Chicago store.  Judge Milton Shadur of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division granted class certification on March 22, 2006 and appointed as Class Counsel the firm of Brennan & Monte, Ltd. and Randall Schmidt of the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School.  The Court certified a class that included all current and former African-American employees of Niketown Chicago from December 17, 1999 to the present, along with four subclasses.  Nike denied and continues to deny all allegations of wrongdoing and liability in the litigation. 

In an effort to avoid continued and protracted litigation, the parties agreed to a settlement which was preliminarily approved by the Court on July 30, 2007.  Under the terms of the proposed settlement and Consent Decree, Nike has agreed to pay $7.6 million to resolve the claims of class members.  In addition to the monetary relief, Nike has agreed to affirmative relief including:  a Court appointed Diversity Consultant to monitor and periodically report to the Court regarding Niketown Chicago’s compliance with the Consent Decree; appointment of a Compliance Officer at Nike’s World Headquarters; designation of an Ombudsperson at Niketown Chicago; diversity training of all supervisors and managers at Niketown Chicago; the creation of store-wide objectives focused on providing equal employment opportunities for all employees; creation of a formal mentoring program for African-American employees; the review and revision of Niketown Chicago’s human resources practices; and review and revision of Niketown Chicago’s loss prevention practices to eliminate any disparate treatment of African-American employees and customers.

To obtain more information you may visit the website www.NikeDiscrimination.com where you will find the proposed Consent Decree, the Court’s Order certifying the classes, the Complaint that Plaintiffs submitted, the Defendant’s Answer to the Complaint and other relevant information.