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Sterling Reaches Settlement With Federal Agency

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The firm still faces class-action arbitration.

Sterling Jewelers has agreed to let an outside expert examine some of its practices related to employment as part of a settlement with the federal government, The New York Times reports.

In civil charges, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had claimed that the company’s female workers suffered discrimination.

In the agreement, Sterling does not have to pay damages or acknowledge fault, according to the Times. The expert will look at the company’s promotion and pay practices.

Lynn Dennison of Sterling parent Signet told the Times in a statement that the steps the company agreed to “are consistent with our commitment to continuous review and improvement.”

“Signet has a sound framework of policies and practices designed to ensure equal opportunity for women and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” said Dennison, Signet’s chief legal, risk and corporate affairs officer.

Sterling still faces a class-action arbitration case. About 250 former employees of Sterling, which operates Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Kay Jewelers and Zales, have alleged that the company culture was rife with sexual discrimination and harassment.

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The claims are part of an arbitration case that dates to 2008. In total, the class-action arbitration case includes 69,000 women. According to the Washington Post, the declarations include claims that women were “routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed.”

Officials with Signet, parent of Sterling, have said the company investigated the allegations and found them not to be substantiated.

Read more at The New York Times

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