Signet Jewelers Slams Sexual Harassment Story

Report: Sex demanded for promotions at Zales, Kay

Sterling Jewelers is owned by Signet, the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the USA, United Kingdom and Canada, with about 3,600 stores under brand names such as Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, according to the company's website. Some accused the company of fostering a workplace culture that marginalized and objectified women.

Shoppers walk by a Kay Jewelers and Zales Jewelers stores at the Serramonte Mall on February 19, 2014 in Daly City, California.

Business Insider's Linette Lopez reported on the case in September. More than a dozen women initially filed for arbitration in 2008.

This past Sunday, their attorneys were finally given permission to release their clients' sworn statements. Stories in BuzzFeed and other publications said customers had their gems replaced with inferior stones while they were being serviced. Other allegations include being passed over for promotions, wage violations (namely, female staffers were systemically paid lower salaries than their male counterparts), and claims that male managers at certain Sterling Jeweler-owned stores (as well as at the company's OH headquarters), "dispatched scouting parties to stores to find female employees they wanted to sleep with, laughed about women's bodies in the workplace, and pushed female subordinates into sex by pledging better jobs, higher pay or protection from punishment", the newspaper writes. The employees were told the favors would advance their career or protect them from punishment, the lawsuit alleges. The description said the behavior included frequent references to women in vulgar and sexual ways; grabbing and groping of women; solicitation of sexual relations, sometimes in exchange for employment benefits; created an environment at company events that were often mandatory where women were expected to undress in public, accede to overtures related to sex and refrain from any complaining about abusive treatment they had been subjected to.

Shoppers walk by a Kay Jewelers and Zales Jewelers stores at the Serramonte Mall on February 19, 2014 in Daly City, California.

"Male district managers were often predatory and sought out subordinate female employees to prey on", one former employee, Alaine Dawn Gough, said in written testimony presented as part of the suit. "I didn't like being alone, anywhere", Contaldi said. I used to dread going [to the meetings].

"If you were even remotely attractive or outgoing, which most salespeople are, you were meat, being shopped", the woman tells the Post. "You were on your own".

One filing in the case shows where lawyers for the plaintiffs described the company's corporate atmosphere.



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