Fifteen women are currently named in a gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaint against Sterling Jewelers. The Plaintiffs allege that Sterling, owners of Jared, Kay Jewelers and Marks and Morgan Jewelers, paid women employees lower wages than male workers and were denied employment advancements since 2003. In addition, several women were subjected to sexual harassment on the job in stores across the United States.

Sterling requires all employees to sign an agreement barring them from filing a lawsuit in court for legal matters like these. Instead, the case will be conducted through private, binding arbitration. The current and former Sterling workers named in the complaint are seeking class action status.

Kathleen Roberts, the New York arbitrator who originally decided the retail workers could seek class action status, is currently reviewing the case. If Roberts decides to certify the case as a class action, it will become one of the largest sex discrimination cases ever arbitrated in the United States, affecting as many as 20,000 women.

The case details

Former Sterling employee Dawn Souto-Coons loved selling engagement rings to couples at a Jared jewelry store in Florida. But her spirits dropped when one day, in 2005, she found out the new male salesperson was making $15 an hour — over $1.50 more an hour than the woman who was the store’s top seller.

One plaintiff, Maria House, a former saleswoman at a Kay store in California, endured harassment after she would close a big sale. An assistant manager would announce that he had a “reward” for her, opening his legs and telling her to sit on his lap.

From 1998 to 2012, Sterling has received 474 in-house complaints regarding pay and sex discrimination. Since then, only two claims moved into an arbitration decision.

Standing up for yourself

Victims of discrimination and harassment have legal rights. If you’ve endured sexual harassment or unfair treatment due to your gender at work, do not hesitate to contact an employment lawyer in New York City.

The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in New York City. For further information, please feel free to call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation 1-877-