National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

EEOC appeals ruling in Sterling Jewelers case

By Michelle Graff

May 14, 2014

Buffalo, N.Y.--The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is appealing a federal judge’s dismissal of its lawsuit charging Sterling Jewelers Inc. with nationwide gender discrimination, alleging the chain paid female employees less and passed them over for promotions.

The notice of appeal, filed Monday in U.S. District Court of the Western District of New York, gave no details and no further paperwork had been filed in the case as of Wednesday morning.

The EEOC did not respond to request for comment from National Jeweler Tuesday.

Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara threw out the EEOC’s case against Sterling Jewelers in March after finding that the EEOC did not conduct a thorough enough investigation of the retailer’s practices to claim it discriminated against women at its stores across the country.

His ruling was in line with the recommendations of the magistrate court judge who reviewed the case and issued a report in January.

RELATED CONTENT: Federal judge dismisses EEOC case vs. Sterling

The EEOC filed suit against Sterling Jewelers in September 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, accusing the jeweler of exhibiting a nationwide pattern of gender discrimination when it came to pay and promotions.

Filed on behalf of 44,000 female employees of Sterling Jewelers, which owns and operates Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry stores, it is the largest suit ever brought by the EEOC.

A separate lawsuit filed by individuals charging Sterling Jewelers with discriminating against women in the workplace is pending in arbitration.

That case was filed in U.S. District Court in New York City in March 2008, prior to the EEOC case.

Sterling Jewelers has denied the claims in both cases.