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Sterling employees claim a culture of harassment

New York residents may have heard about a class-action arbitration brought against Sterling Jewelers by thousands of current and former female employees. Sterling is the parent company of retailers such as Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers. The lawsuit claims that a culture of harassment has existed within the organization since the 1990s. It should be noted that not all of the parties to the suit are claiming that they were sexually harassed.

Some have claimed that they were the victims of gender bias in the workplace in addition to wage discrimination and being passed over for promotions. The lawsuit also alleges that male managers from the company's Akron headquarters would send so-called search parties to the stores. The purpose of these search parties was to find women that they could have sex with. Female employees would also be offered pay raises, promotions and protection from punishment in exchange for sex.

According to a 2013 case filing, several executives allegedly based promotions for female employees on how they responded to sexual advances. The filing alleges that the chief executive for Sterling's parent company was among those who took part in this practice. One former manager said that she was accused of theft and terminated after complaining about sexual advances toward her made by her superior.

Those who believe that they are victims of sexual harassment may wish to talk with an attorney. Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, comments made about an employee's appearance or any other actions that may lead to a hostile working environment. An attorney may be able to review a case and any evidence provided that may verify a worker's claim. Examples of such evidence may include statements made by management, statements from witnesses to illegal behavior or digital communications.

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