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March 9 (Reuters) - Signet Jewelers Ltd said it would review its equal opportunities and other workplace-related policies, as the jeweler steps up efforts to contain the damage from sexual harassment allegations against executives at its Sterling Jewelers unit.
The retailer, which owns the Kay and Jared brands, is being sued by hundreds of former employees alleging routine sexual harassment at the company in the late 1990s and 2000s, the Washington Post reported last week.
According to the report, the lawsuit alleges that Sterling paid male employees higher salaries than females, who were also often overlooked for promotions.
Sterling has denied the allegations, saying they are not substantiated by facts.
Signet Chairman Todd Stitzer said on Thursday the company would form a board committee that will consist of four female directors and focus on the advancement of its women employees.
The committee will hire an independent consultant to review company policies related to equal opportunities in the workplace, Signet said.
The committee will also establish an independent ombudsperson to advise employees on workplace issues.
"We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and we want to be sure that the framework we have in place for reporting, and responding to any such issues is robust and effective," Stitzer said on a call with analysts following Signet's fourth-quarter earnings report.
Signet on Thursday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by lower costs and strong demand for diamond jewelry.
The company's shares were up 6.1 percent at $68.31 in late morning trade on Thursday. Up to Wednesday's close, the stock had fallen 11.6 percent since the Washington Post report on Feb. 27. (Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)