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Signet Settles Long-Running Gender-Bias Lawsuit

Jun 12, 2022 9:46 AM   By Rapaport News
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Signet Jewelers has agreed to pay $175 million to resolve a 2008 legal dispute involving 68,000 female workers who alleged it discriminated against women.

Class members who filed the suit against Sterling Jewelers — the division of Signet that oversees Kay Jewelers and Jared — will receive about $125 million combined from the settlement, while the remainder will cover attorneys’ fees and costs, Signet said last week. The suit claimed Sterling paid female staff members less than their male counterparts and promoted them less often.

“For the past four years, we’ve been successfully transforming Signet’s business model and culture,” said Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos. “This settlement is an important step in bringing closure to a nearly 15-year-old case. We look forward to continuing our focus on diversity as an important business strategy.”

The settlement enables Signet to avoid an upcoming class-action arbitration that could have potentially opened the jeweler up to greater liability than individual cases. In 2020, Signet asked the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s ruling allowing the case to be tried as a class action.

Three years prior, Signet had separately settled a legal case over gender discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The jeweler has gone through a “transformation” in recent years, in which it has made diversity, equity and inclusion an integral part of business, Signet explained. The company has discontinued the pay and promotion practices at issue in the lawsuit and offers mentorship programs and leadership training for female employees, it continued.

“On behalf of our legal team, we applaud the courage of our clients in the pursuit of this case of singular importance to protecting the rights of women in the workplace,” said Joseph Sellers of Cohen Milstein & Toll, lead class counsel on the case. “This settlement provides for significant monetary relief for our clients, and ensures that the practices that gave rise to this case will not recur.”

Image: A Kay Jewelers store in New Jersey. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Cohen Milstein & Toll, Gender-Bias Lawsuit, Gina Drosos, Jared, Jewelry, Joseph Sellers, Kay Jewelers, Rapaport News, Signet, Signet Jewelers, Sterling Jewelers
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