Statements from female jewelry store employees claim widespread sexual harassment
- Author: Zachary Reyes Mar 01, 2017,
Mar 01, 2017, 7:59
The allegations are extensively and well-documented, according to the Post, and say male managers systemically pressured female employees into sexual favors for advancement or favorable treatment, particularly at company conferences, and Sterling and its brands engaged in systemic discrimination against women in pay and promotion decisions. The Sterling division of Signet Jewelers oversees the Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry chains. According to The Post, among statements from 250 employees (both men and women) are accusations that female employees at Kay and Jared in the 1990s and 2000s were "routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed".
Not all 69,000 women are alleging harassment, but many accuse the company of sexual bias, wage discrimination and being unfairly passed over for promotions.
Sterling disputes the allegations, but because the matter is being settled by arbitration rather than in the U.S. court system, little transparency exists as to the details of the still unresolved case. Additionally, there are claims from ex-employees that the company's annual, mandatory managers meetings were "boozy, no-spouses-allowed "sex-fest"[s]" and that female employees at the meetings were "aggressively pursued, grabbed and harassed".
Signet in its release said the arbitration claim had only alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotion.
Mark Light, the CEO of Sterling's parent company, Signet Jewelers, was directly implicated in the report.
Women who issued sworn statements in 2012 said that the company forbade discussion of pay among employees, which made it hard for underpaid women to gauge whether they were being treated fairly.
"Despite years of litigation, millions of pages of documentation and numerous depositions, claimants' counsel have chosen not to file sexual harassment claims".
"Indeed, the distorted and inaccurate picture of our company presented in these allegations does not represent who we are".
On Tuesday, Signet's stock fell more than 8 percent Tuesday to about $66.85 a share, right before trading was halted.
In the statement, Signet said none of the 69,000 members of the case have brought legal claims forward of sexual harassment or impropriety. "We continue to encourage all employees to use these processes to raise any workplace concerns so we can investigate and take appropriate action", Signet said in the statement.