California workers who have been following the Sterling Jewelry Co. discrimination case may be interested to learn that, according to a March 13 report, the case has been upgraded to a class action arbitration. The action involves at least 69,000 employees.

The claims were first filed in 2008 and alleged that executives and managers working at Sterling Jewelry Co. encouraged a workplace that discriminated against female employees. For example, employees stated that the annual managers’ meeting often had parties following the daytime work seminars, during which female employees were encouraged to strip. Some of the other allegations included demanding sex for promotions and groping. Attorneys for the employees filed a motion to seek class-action status for the claims in 2013. In total, approximately 250 female and male employees declared that female employees were routinely sexually harassed and were encouraged to provide sexual favors to their managers.

A company spokesperson denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating that the class action was focused on gender discrimination only. Additionally, the jewelry company stated that the allegations were not accurate. Even so, the case records were eventually made available to the public. This caused the company’s stock to plummet 13 percent in late February.

Workplace discrimination can have an impact on an employee’s work performance and ability to advance within the company. If people have evidence that they were discriminated against, an employment law attorney may help them file a lawsuit against their employer. Evidence could potentially include emails, texts and witness testimony. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney may negotiate with the employer out of court. This allows the case to be settled more quickly and allows the attorney to seek an appropriate amount of compensation based on the circumstances.

Source: SHRM, “Discrimination Charges Tarnish Jewelry Company’s Image“, Robert Teachout, March 13, 2017