By On behalf of The Law Offices of Roderick V. Hannah, Esq., P.A.

Shocking allegations from employees at a major jeweler could lead to a massive class-action lawsuit that may include as many as 44,000 workers. Twelve women, including some Florida residents, have filed workplace discrimination claims against Sterling Jewelers, the company that owns Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. Those women allege that they were paid less than their male counterparts, and some also say that they endured sexual harassment in the workplace.

One Florida woman who is involved in the suit said she became outraged when she noticed discrepancies in the wage rates for men and women at the Jared store where she worked. The woman was filing a form when she saw information related to a new employee. That new salesperson, a man, was receiving a significantly higher hourly rate than the woman who was listed as the store’s top seller. Other files confirmed the fact that most of the men were making more money per hour than the female employees.

An employee at a California outlet of Kay Jewelers said her assistant manager tormented her with unwanted sexual advances and offensive sexual comments. That man would encourage her to sit on his lap. He also said he had a big “reward” for her as he would sit with his legs spread. That woman said she would take breaks to sit in the mall and cry because of the sexual harassment.

Employees in Florida should not be subject to discrimination or unlawful retaliation because of their gender. Workers have a right to fair pay and a safe, comfortable working environment. A Florida attorney may be able to help those who have suffered unfair treatment at work by filing civil suits to recover financial damages.

Source: The New York Times, “Women Charge Bias and Harassment in Suit Against Sterling Jewelers” Susan Antilla, Mar. 28, 2014