Why You Shouldn’t (Immediately) Follow Nike’s Lead in Giving Raises for Past Discrimination

Nike is making headlines after they decided to give raises to 7000 employees. This comes after women at Nike revolted saying that Nike’s culture was toxic. Nike wants to make it right, so they are giving pay raises.

This is admirable and a step along the way to making things better at Nike. But, if you read this and say, “Hey, let’s check our pay and fix any problems!” and immediately download a spreadsheet with race, gender, title, pay, etc.,  you may not have the Nike happy ending and good publicity.

In fact, you could end up on the losing end of a lawsuit–for your attempt to do what is right.

Pay Audit Cautions

On the Hostile Work Environment Podcast, employment attorneys Marc Alifanz and Dennis Westlind discussed some of the problems. If, for instance, you give an employee a random raise to make up for a discrepancy you found you’re going to need to explain why, especially if it’s more than a few dollars. Here’s why.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Shouldn’t (Immediately) Follow Nike’s Lead in Giving Raises for Past Discrimination

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6 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t (Immediately) Follow Nike’s Lead in Giving Raises for Past Discrimination

  1. This situation goes hand and hand with the interviewer disclosing pay offers at start of the hiring process not at the end as current trend goes. This way the pay offer is equal at start with both parties agreeing on the salary and no comparison is done based on past salary. The pay offers should be exactly the same with no biases based on gender but based on job offer.

  2. “Since everyone gets a raise, and people don’t generally talk about salary, people won’t know that Jane, Karen, and Stephanie got 7 percent increases and Bill, Joe, and Bob all got 2 percent increases.“

    Annnnnndddd … yet another reason to freely share pay info with colleagues!

  3. And there’s also the grey area of salary negotiations. If the Jane in this example was paid less because she simply negotiatied for less, does the company really owe her back pay? I’d say no….
    ….which also goes to being upfront with the salary range from the get-go.

    1. A recent study out of Australia — but believed to be equally-applicable to the US and the UK — found that women ask for higher wages as often as men do, but do not receive them. The study did not undertake to identify the reasons why, but could not eliminate sexual discrimination as a factor.

    2. I fully disagree that the company doesn’t (ethically) owe back pay. Unless you are hiring someone to do negotiations for your company there is no reason to pay someone more just because they tried to negotiate. Businesses should do the research to figure out what a fair, market-based salary is, offer that and don’t negotiate further. That way you don’t end up with pay disparities.

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