Tuesday, April 1, 2014
From NYT, Women Charge Bias and Harassment in Suit Against Sterling Jewelers. Twelve women filed
suit against Sterling Jewelers, parent of 12 chains in the United States, including Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers. Sterling, the largest retail jewelry company in the United States by sales, is accused of gender discrimination in its pay and promotion practices since 2003.
And the accusations go further, portraying a workplace where sexual harassment and vulgar behavior left some plaintiffs feeling violated.
If the class is certified, about 44,000 current and former Sterling sales employees, from store managers to sales associates, would be offered the chance to join the plaintiffs’ case, seeking back pay and punitive damages.
While the group would not be as big as the 1997 gender case against Publix Supermarkets, which included more than 100,000 women and was settled for $81.5 million, it would eclipse the 2004 gender case against Boeing, which included 29,000 women.
Even if the women are certified as a class, they must pursue their case against Sterling privately. According to company policies, employees must deal with cases through arbitration, not the courts.