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Sterling Jewelers at the center of sexual harassment class action

Sterling Jewelers is the focus of a massive class action lawsuit alleging that it supported a corporate culture of sexual harassment. The lawsuit alleges that Sterling fostered widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at its workplaces in California and the rest of the nation.

The class action was brought forward in arbitration and it includes 69,000 former and current female employees. Included in the suit are 250 statements from ex-employees. In those statements, the women say that Sterling's culture of sexual harassment stretches back 20 years, and it began during the 1990s.

The original complaint that spurred the lawsuit was brought forward in 2008. However, none of the 1,300 pages of testimony were released publicly until Feb. 26. It is not known why the arbitration is still unresolved 10 years after the original claim was filed.

Arbitration records show that among the 69,000 class action plaintiffs, not all of the women say that they were victimized by sexual harassment. Some of the plaintiffs say that they suffered from wage discrimination and unfair promotions due to the fact that they were female.

Statements from ex-employees claim that male store managers, some of them from the corporate headquarters, would seek out women -- with whom they wished to engage in sex acts -- at store locations. Male managers were also accused of mocking the bodies of female coworkers, and offered women pay raises and promotions in exchange for sexual favors.

This kind of behavior is clearly unlawful, unconscionable and disgusting. Nevertheless, California employees are often subjected to sexual harassment on the job. If you or a loved one has been victimized by workplace sexual harassment, an employment lawyer may be able to help you put the harassment to a stop while seeking financial claims for justice and restitution.

Source: Marketwatch, "Sterling Jewelers accused of rampant sexual harassment: report," Mike Murphy, Feb. 27, 2017

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