Sterling Jewelers is the parent company of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers. It is the largest retail jewelry company in the United States. Recently, the EEOC brought a lawsuit against Sterling for discrimination over its pay and promotion practices.
The New York Times reported Sterling was able to reach a settlement with the EEOC.
Sterling agreed to hire an independent employment expert who would examine its compensation and promotion practices. Signet Jewelers, which is Sterling’s parent company, made a public relations announcement stating that it did not tolerate discrimination of any kind and that the steps taken as part of the agreement with the EEOC were consistent with its commitment to continuous review and improvement.
This was a legal victory for Sterling because it avoided having to admit wrongdoing and did not have to pay fines or compensation.
Another Class Action Lawsuit Sterling Faces
This is not the only lawsuit that Sterling has faced recently. Another class-action arbitration case accusing the company of gender bias is yet to be resolved. In March 2017, 12 women filed a class-action lawsuit against Sterling Jewelers. The assistant manager, Ms. Souto-Coons discovered a newly hired male salesman with no retail experience was hired and making $1.50 more than a woman who was the store’s top seller. She then reviewed all the files of co-workers and realized all the men were making higher hourly rates than the women who held the same positions.
The class action lawsuit also contains evidence that hundreds of former employees described incidents of sexual harassment that were reported and ignored. Signet said the company investigated and continues to investigate reports of misconduct. However, the class-action case does not focus on sexual harassment and the comments about sexual harassment are in the context of the complaints about pay disparities. There are 69,000 employees who are class members in the lawsuit.
Stephen Hans & Associates is a New York law firm that assists business owners with employment and labor law issues.