March 9 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
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.
(Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by
Sai Sachin Ravikumar)