California employees may be interested in learning that the discrimination claims that were filed against Sterling Jewelry Co. have developed into a class-action lawsuit. The claims are all centered around the management and the work culture they developed that was demeaning to female employees.
The claims were originally filed in 2008 and alleged that female employees were subjected to promotion discrimination, sexual harassment and unwanted requests for sex in order to be given better store assignments. The allegations reached class-action status in 2013 and did not become public until February 2017. Ultimately, approximately 250 employees filed declarations that female employees were demeaned in the workplace. Attorneys for the employees argued that the sworn statements showed that the company had fostered a work environment that was hostile to female employees.
In response, the company noted that the class-action lawsuit did not include any allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination. Further, company officials reportedly investigated the allegations when they were made and determined that they were not substantiated. They also noted that the lawsuit only involved a very small number of individuals, meaning the actions of these particular managers did not represent the entire company or the company's culture.
If an employee reports an incident of sexual harassment and he or she is retaliated against, he or she could have the grounds to file a sexual harassment claim. An attorney may assist with gathering evidence that shows that the incidents actually did occur and the company failed to take appropriate action, causing the employee to sustain damages. In some cases, a lawyer may help an employee seek compensation for any lost income the retaliation caused as well as emotional distress.