University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Smith v. Nike Retail Servs. Inc EE-IL-0269
Docket / Court 1:03-cv-09110 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On December 17, 2003, an African-American employee of the Niketown Chicago filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against the Nike Retail Services Inc. in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.
... read more >
On December 17, 2003, an African-American employee of the Niketown Chicago filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against the Nike Retail Services Inc. in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.

The plaintiffs asked the court for both monetary damages and injunctive relief, charging the defendant with multiple forms of racial discrimination. According to the third amended complaint, filed on May 12, 2006, the defendant had engaged in a pattern or practice of race discrimination against its African-American employees, which included the following discriminatory treatment: segregating its African-American employees into the lowest paying jobs; failing to provide African-American employees with equal promotional opportunities; disciplining and terminating African-American employees pursuant to rules that were not enforced the same way against Caucasian employees; treating its African-American employees less favorably in terms of benefits and classification; and maintaining a hostile work environment for all its African-American employees based on this disparate treatment, coupled with a workplace filled with racial slurs by managers and employees, unfounded accusations of theft and abuse of discount and commission policies overwhelmingly directed at African-American employees, and unwarranted and excessive monitoring of African-American employees and customers.

The plaintiff initially filed the case pro se, but acquired private counsel prior to filing an amended complaint on August 23, 2004. The defendant filed a partial motion to dismiss on October 28, 2004. On November 17, 2004, the court (Judge Milton I. Shadur) granted this motion, dismissing all Title VII claims based on hostile work environment.

After filing a second amended complaint on February 22, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification on December 23, 2005. On March 22, 2006, the court (Judge Shadur) granted this motion and certified the plaintiff class. As described in the settlement agreement, the court certified the following sub-classes for purposes of liability, monetary and injunctive relief:

• Hostile Work Environment Class: All African-American employees and managers who are or were employed at Niketown Chicago at any time between December 17, 1999 and the present who allegedly were subjected to a hostile working environment.

• Job Segregation/Wage Disparity Class: All current and former non-managerial African-American employees at Niketown Chicago who allegedly were assigned to lower paid positions in the stockroom or as cashiers because of their race during the period between December 17, 1999 and the present.

• Promotion Class: All current and former non-managerial African-American employees at Niketown Chicago who allegedly were denied promotions or deprived of the ability to pursue promotions because of their race during the period between December 17, 1999 and the present.

• Discipline Class: All current and former non-managerial African-American

employees at Niketown Chicago who allegedly were subjected to racially-biased application of workplace rules and regulations that resulted in discipline up to and including termination, during the period between December 17, 1999 and the present.

• Benefits Class: All current and former non-managerial African-American employees at Niketown Chicago who allegedly applied for, requested and/or were entitled to benefits but were denied those benefits because of their race, during the period between December 17, 1999 and the present.



On July 30, 2007, the two parties issued a joint motion proposing a settlement agreement and consent decree, seeking an order of approval from the court. On October 2, 2007, the court (Judge Shadur) approved the settlement agreement and consent decree, dismissing the case. The agreement called for substantial equitable relief, including a court-appointed diversity consultant and specific programmatic relief of various forms. The settlement also called for a monetary settlement fund of $7,600,000 to be paid for the compensatory and punitive damages sought on behalf of the class. Attorney's fees were to be paid as well. As of April 2008, discussion continued on the details of the fund distribution.

Nathaniel Koslof - 04/26/2008


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Nike Retail Services, Inc.
Plaintiff Description All African-American employees and managers who were employed at Niketown Chicago at any time between December 17, 1999 and the present.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:03-cv-09110 (N.D. Ill.) 01/14/2008
EE-IL-0269-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Motion for Class Certification 12/23/2005 (2005 WL 6077505)
EE-IL-0269-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Third Amended Complaint 05/12/2006 (2006 WL 1755339)
EE-IL-0269-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree 07/30/2007 (2007 WL 2590363)
EE-IL-0269-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Denlow, Morton (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
EE-IL-0269-0001
Shadur, Milton Irving (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0269-0001 | EE-IL-0269-0002 | EE-IL-0269-0003 | EE-IL-0269-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brennan, Noelle Christine (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-0002 | EE-IL-0269-0003 | EE-IL-0269-9000
Davis, Beth A (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Monte, Ines M (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-0001 | EE-IL-0269-0002 | EE-IL-0269-0003 | EE-IL-0269-9000
Schmidt, Randall D (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-0002 | EE-IL-0269-0003 | EE-IL-0269-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baffa, David S. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Feis, Brenda H. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-0001 | EE-IL-0269-9000
Greene, Martin Peter (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Holloway, Philip Stephens (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Jeter, Sheldon Leigh (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Lee, Kevin Thomas (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Singleton, James L. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Tinglin, Karen Elaine (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Turpin, Carl K. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Woodward, Kathryn M. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0269-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -