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Huge sexual harassment claim: not the p.r. a national jeweler wants

Reportedly, top-rung executives of a jewelry manufacturing and retail empire are flatly stressed regarding a massive arbitration case that their company has now been embroiled in for years.

The case, which is a huge sexual harassment class-action filing with a stunning 69,000 class members, is threatening the prospects and future profits of Signet Jewelers in a major way.

Signet is the parent company of Sterling Jewelers, which operates mall mainstays Jared and Kay Jewelers. Company principals have acknowledged their potentially outsized liability regarding a dizzying number of complaints from former and current female employees that allege a corporate environment that has long been toxic for women.

A legal representative for the class members says that the case provides "breathtaking evidence of ways in which women were mistreated in the workplace."

Candidly, much of what is alleged in the voluminous complaint makes for uncomfortable reading, with legions of plaintiffs painting a picture of a corporate environment where female workers "were routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed."

Unsurprisingly, Sterling, which is the defendant in the arbitration, refutes and otherwise seeks to minimize the adverse claims it is defending against. It says they "are not substantiated by the facts" and do not accurately describe the jeweler's corporate culture.

As noted, though, scores of thousands of claimants adamantly disagree with that assessment. The class of ex-employees and current workers (some who additionally or separately allege gender-based wage violations as well) is seeking punitive damages and back pay.

The case continues to move along, though glacially. A class hearing is slated to occur early in 2018.

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