University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. EE-NY-0236
Docket / Court No. 08-CV-706 ( W.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On September 9, 2008, in response to charges filed by 18 women, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Sterling Jewelers, Inc., alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through sex-discriminatory employment practices. Specifically, the EEOC ... read more >
On September 9, 2008, in response to charges filed by 18 women, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Sterling Jewelers, Inc., alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through sex-discriminatory employment practices. Specifically, the EEOC claimed that Sterling Jewelers intentionally discriminated against female sales employees by maintaining a system of excessively subjective promotion and compensation decisions and thereby permitting or encouraging managers to deny equal access to promotion and compensation to female employees. The EEOC claimed in the alternative that Sterling Jewelers maintained an excessively subjective system that had an illegal disparate impact on female retail sales employees. The EEOC sought injunctive and monetary relief, including back pay, promotion, compensation for lost benefits and emotional suffering, and development of policies and programs to provide equal opportunities to women and eliminate the effects of past discrimination. The EEOC also sought to recoup the cost of its litigation. The litigation was brought on behalf of the 18 charging parties and all other similarly situated female employees.

The progress of the case has been slow because of numerous disputes over procedure and discovery.

On January 6, 2010, the Court (Judge Richard J. Arcara) denied Sterling's motion to dismiss all claims for conduct preceding the statute of limitations period for the first party to file charges with the EEOC. 2010 WL 86376 (W.D.N.Y. 2010) (holding that the EEOC was not bound by the statute of limitations, which applied only to individuals).

On July 15, 2010, the Court (Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy), among other things, allowed the charging parties to intervene in the proceedings to participate in argument over the scope of a protective order. 2010 WL 2803017 (W.D.N.Y. 2010). For contractual reasons the charging parties were pursuing their claims separately in a class-action arbitration and wanted to be able to receive discovery information from the EEOC, though they were prohibited from sharing information with the EEOC. See Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc., linked below (Clearinghouse ID: EE-NY-0237). The protective order was issued on July 23, 2011.

On April 25, 2011, the Court (Richard J. Arcara) bifurcated trial and discovery into two phases, liability (Stage I) and damages (Stage II). Stage I generally covers the issue of whether there was a disparate impact on female retail employees at Sterling to establish a pattern or practice of discrimination, while Stage II, would occur only if the EEOC prevails at phase I, and covers the individual aspects of each employee's case and whether there was a legitimate business reason for the disparity. The EEOC sought to have the punitive damages determination included in phase I, but the Court rejected that approach. 788 F.Supp.2d 83 (W.D.N.Y. 2011).

The bifurcation was followed by extensive discovery dispute. The case has not left the Stage I discovery process and is ongoing.

Kenneth Gray - 06/14/2013


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Sterling Jewelers, Inc.
Plaintiff Description EEOC filing on behalf of 18 female retail sales employees and all other similarly situated female employees.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing EE-NY-0237 : Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., (S.D.N.Y.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
08-cv-00706 (W.D.N.Y.) 05/20/2013
EE-NY-0236-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint, Jury Trial Demanded 09/23/2008
EE-NY-0236-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/06/2010 (2010 WL 86376) (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Decision and Order 07/15/2010 (2010 WL 2803017) (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Decision and Order 04/25/2011 (788 F.Supp.2d 83) (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order 05/14/2012 (2012 WL 1680811) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Arcara, Richard Joseph (W.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0236-0002 | EE-NY-0236-0003 | EE-NY-0236-9000
McCarthy, Jeremiah J. (W.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0236-0003 | EE-NY-0236-0004 | EE-NY-0236-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abel, Natasha L. (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Biltekoff, Judith Ann (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Curtin, Nora E. (Florida)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Eppers, Donald (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Grossman, Elizabeth (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Hope, Jennifer Lynn (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Malloy, Margaret Ann (New York)
EE-NY-0236-0001 | EE-NY-0236-9000
Mays, Lawrence (Ohio)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Mezzetti, Lisa M. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Pohl, Anna Marie (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Sanghvi, Ami T. (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Sofferin, Lisa T. (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Stern, Jefferey A (Ohio)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Yang, Jenny R. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Almon, Lorie (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Dugan, William Francis (Illinois)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Galant, Gloria (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Henry, Marcia (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Horton, Scott Patrick (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Kinson, Francis Patrick (Illinois)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Klein, Daniel B. (Massachusetts)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Maatman, Gerald L Jr. (Illinois)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Monahan, John M. (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Murphy, Brian Daniel (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Ross, David Bennet (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Rossiter, Britt (Ohio)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Scharlat, Richard Ira (New York)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Zashin, Stephen S (Ohio)
EE-NY-0236-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -