March 29, 2017 / 3:22 AM / 3 years ago

Signet Jewelers sued for not disclosing harassment allegations

(Reuters) - Signet Jewelers Ltd has been hit with a securities fraud class action lawsuit, accusing the retailer of failing to disclose facts regarding sexual harassment allegations against executives at its Sterling Jewelers unit, court documents showed.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in Dallas federal court by Irving Firemen’s Relief & Retirement Fund, claimed the fund suffered economic loss as a result of violations of the securities laws by Signet.

The lawsuit accused the company of disseminating false or misleading statements to the public about the true nature and severity of the allegations made by former employees.

Signet did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The Washington Post reported last month that hundreds of former employees sued the retailer, which owns the Kay and Jared brands, for leading a corporate culture that “fostered rampant sexual harassment and discrimination.”

Employees accused Sterling of wage violations and argued that the company paid male employees higher salaries than females, who were also often overlooked for promotions, the Washington Post reported.

Sterling said in February it has “thoroughly investigated” the allegations and “concluded they are not substantiated by facts.”

Earlier this month, Signet said it would review its equal opportunities and other workplace-related policies, as it stepped up efforts to contain the damage from the sexual harassment allegations.

Signet also said it would form a board committee that will consist of four female directors and focus on the advancement of its women employees.

The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas division, Case No: 3:17-cv-00875-D.

Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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