A Transgender Former Nike Contractor Sues, Saying Managers Failed to Protect Them

Approved ~~ MJM

Jazz Lyles, a former computer engineer at Nike’s Beaverton headquarters, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the sportswear giant.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleges Nike and Mainz Brady, an IT staffing firm based in San Mateo, Calif., exposed Lyles to gender identity-based discrimination and harassment and retaliation. (Mainz Brady didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

Lyles identifies as transmasculine/nonbinary. That means Lyles was assigned the female gender at birth but identifies with masculinity and as a nonbinary person.

Documents show that before coming to work at Nike as a $62.50-an-hour programmer in 2017, Lyles specified they were transgender and wished to be referred to by the pronouns “they/them/their.”

But from the beginning, Nike employees allegedly disregarded Lyles’ requests, as WW first reported last year (“Just Say They,” Sept. 26, 2018). People on the technical teams on which Lyles worked—which included Nike employees and independent contractors but which reported to Nike managers—allegedly repeatedly used the wrong pronouns, which is known as “misgendering.”

Emails and other electronic messages show Lyles politely but firmly communicated with peers and managers, seeking to help them understand why being referred to by the correct pronouns was important. One colleague responded by greeting Lyles, “Hey, girl, what’s up?” Another told them that using Lyles’ pronouns was against her religion.

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Article URL: https://www.wweek.com/news/2019/12/17/a-transgender-former-nike-contractor-sues-saying-managers-failed-to-protect-them/

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