A transgender engineer sued Nike for $1.1 million, alleging the company allowed gender identity-based harassment

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  • Jazz Lyles, a former Nike contractor, filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging it allowed gender identity-based harassment, CBS News reported.
  • Lyles is seeking $1.1 million in damages and filed the complaint with the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon in mid-December.
  • According to the Portland-based newspaper Willamette Week, Lyles made it clear that they were transgender and requested to be referred to by the pronouns “they/them/their” before beginning to work there.
  • But the complaint says that during Lyles’ time at the company, Nike employees and independent contractors repeatedly used the wrong pronouns — known as misgendering.
  • CBS reported that during Lyles’ tenure, which lasted from May 2017 to September 2018, the companies were notified of the issue several times but allegedly disregarded the requests.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jazz Lyles, a former Nike contractor, filed a civil lawsuit this week alleging that Nike and its IT contractor Mainz Brady Group allowed gender identity-based harassment, CBS News reported.

According to CBS, Lyles is seeking $1.1 million in damages and filed the complaint with the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon.

Lyles, who identifies as transmasculine and uses the pronouns they/them/their, was recruited to work at Nike by Mainz Brady in 2017.

According to the Portland-based newspaper Willamette Week, Lyles made it clear they were transgender and requested to be referred to by the pronouns “they/them/their” before starting work as a computer engineer. But the complaint said that during Lyles’ time at the company, Nike employees and independent contractors repeatedly used the wrong pronouns — known as misgendering.

CBS reported that during Lyles tenure, which lasted from May 2017 to September 2018, Nike and Mainz Brady Group were notified of the issue several times but allegedly disregarded the requests.

According to CBS, the complaint said Lyles was removed from a work-related Slack channel three times by a colleague. Coworkers also called Lyles “stupid” and “unstable,” the complaint said.

Nike declined to comment to CBS about the matter, but told the network the company “is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect where everyone can succeed and realize their full potential.” 

Lyles alleged that one coworker chose not to interact with them, and another refused to use their gender pronouns, citing religious reasons. The lawsuit also said that Nike did not implement any policies or training in the workplace regarding pronoun usage.

Willamette Week reported that eventually the misgendering led Lyles to take a medical leave and work from home for the remainder of their contract.

This is not the first time Nike has been hit with a gender-related lawsuit. In 2018, Business Insider reported that two female ex-employees sued the company, alleging they were paid less than their male colleagues and were unfairly sidelined for promotions.

The company told Business Insider at the time that it “opposes discrimination of any type and has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

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