Signet hires former federal judge for independent review

Signet Jewelers announced on Wednesday the appointment of former federal Judge Barbara S. Jones to conduct a thorough review of the company’s policies and practices regarding equal opportunity and workplace expectations. The company first announced plans to commission a review in March during a conference call.


The Signet Jewelers portfolio with retailers Kay, Jared, and others - Photo: Signet Jewelers
 
Judge Jones, who is a partner at Bracewell LLP, served a 16-year term in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, after being nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Since leaving the bench, she has focused on workplace compliance issues, as well as corporate mentorships, internal investigations, arbitrations, and meditations.
 
“Judge Barbara Jones’ integrity is impeccable. She and her team have had a distinguished career in matters relating to workplace compliance issues and she will bring that experience to the company as she conducts a review of company policy and practices,” said Helen McCluskey, Signet Director and Chair of the committee. “Judge Jones will help us ensure our programs are functioning as intended and to identify areas where we can further improve.”
 
The appointment follows a number of sexual harassment allegations made against executives at Sterling Jewelers, one of the retailers under Signet. According to the lawsuit, Sterling Jewelers exhibited a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination in the late 1990s and 2000s. Two hundred and fifty women and men allege that female employees at Sterling were harassed and were victims of wage violations. 

In late March, Signet was hit with a securities fraud class action lawsuit for allegedly failing to disclose information regarding sexual harassment allegations. The lawsuit accuses Signet of disseminating false or misleading statements to the public about the allegations from former employees.
 
Sterling said in a statement about the harassment allegations, “The company takes any concerns seriously and had - and continues to have - multiple processes in place to receive and investigate allegations of misconduct. We continue to encourage all employees to use these processes to raise any workplace concerns so we can investigate and take appropriate action.”
 
Signet also said it would form a board committee of four female directors to focus on the advancement of female employees.

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