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Major US jewellery chains facing legal action

Sterling Jewelers, the largest jewellery company in the US, is currently embroiled in a far-reaching arbitration case with thousands of female employees, who allege decades of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Sterling, which is a subsidiary of UK-based Signet Jewelers, is the parent of well-known US chains like Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and Kay and is worth more than $6 billion.

While the legal proceedings – which have been in process for ten years – were reported on in the past, a New York Times exposé, published in April, has revealed previously unknown sordid details.

The piece includes multiple accounts of men being promoted above more qualified female colleagues, women being paid less per hour than men doing the same job, and women being overlooked for management positions despite their experience.

More troubling are the allegations of a ‘boys’ club’ culture rife with sexual harassment, coercion and abuse, despite the company having a majority female workforce.

Responding to the new report, a spokesperson for Signet said, “We’re disappointed that the New York Times decided to publish an article primarily based on decades-old allegations, and [that] we believe casts our company unfairly,” adding that women make up 74 per cent of management positions and that the board has achieved gender parity under CEO Gina Drosos.

The story is another blow to the jewellery group, which reported financial losses of US$657.4 million for the 2018-19 financial year and has begun several rounds of job cuts in the US.

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Tuesday, 10 December, 2019 08:10am
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