May 5 Sterling Jewelers Inc has settled claims
by a U.S. agency that it discriminated against female employees
in pay and promotions, but the deal will not affect a similar
case brought on behalf of nearly 70,000 women who worked for the
The settlement was revealed in a joint filing in federal
court in Buffalo, New York on Thursday by Sterling, a unit of
Signet Jewelers Ltd, and the U.S. Equal Employment
Akron, Ohio-based Sterling will adopt new
anti-discrimination policies and train managers on how to avoid
bias, but will not pay any money to settle claims in a 2008
lawsuit by the EEOC that it engaged in a nationwide practice of
paying men more than women and favoring them for promotions.
Lynn Dennison, Signet's chief legal officer, said in a
statement that the company, which denied any wrongdoing, was
pleased to resolve the case.
“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," she said.
Sterling, which owns Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of
Jewelery, is also facing class action sex discrimination claims
in a case brought by female employees in private arbitration.
Signet's stock plunged in February after 1,300 pages of
documents in the case were made public in which women claimed
they were groped, demean and pressured to have sex with male
managers in exchange for raises and promotions.
In March, Signet shareholders sued the company, claiming it
broke the law by failing to disclose the severity of the sex
The class action is scheduled to go to trial early next
year. A U.S. appeals court next week will hear Sterling's
challenge to a decision certifying the women as a class.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by