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Case Name Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., EE-NY-0237
Docket / Court 08-CV-02875 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On March 18, 2008, sixteen current and former female employees of Sterling Jewelers, Inc. filed a putative class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Sterling under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The ... read more >
On March 18, 2008, sixteen current and former female employees of Sterling Jewelers, Inc. filed a putative class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Sterling under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief and monetary damages, claiming that Sterling--a large jewelry retailer--had engaged in a pattern and practice of sex discrimination in its promotion and compensation decisions, as well as in age discrimination. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that Sterling promoted and compensated male employees at a statistically significantly higher rate than similarly situated female employees. Plaintiffs pointed to Sterling's failure to publicize advancement opportunities and the company's "tap on the shoulder" promotion system that allowed Sterling managers to promote without any merit-based considerations. Managers were also permitted broad discretion in setting compensation and did not have to comply with any merit-based criteria. Plaintiffs further alleged that female employees had been subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation. Plaintiffs also filed a complaint with American Arbitration Association in March 2008 challenging the same practices.

Pursuant to their employment contract, Plaintiffs were required to initiate alternative dispute resolution through Sterling's "RESOLVE" program. Sterling moved to stay the federal court litigation in favor of arbitration through RESOLVE. In June 2008, the district court granted Plaintiffs' motion to stay the litigation and refer the matter to arbitration to determine whether RESOLVE permitted class action arbitration. in June 2009, the arbitrator determined that RESOLVE did permit class action arbitration, and thus permitted Plaintiffs to proceed with their class action claim.

In December 2009, the district court (Jed Rakoff, J.) denied Sterling's motion to vacate the arbitration award. Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, 677 F.Supp.2d 661 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). Sterling appealed the district court's order in January 2010, In addition, Sterling asked the district court for relief from the court's previous ruling on the arbitration award, relying on the Supreme Court's Stolt-Nielsen v. Animalfeeds International Corp, 559 U.S. 662 (2010) decision, which held that when a parties' contract is silent on the issue of class arbitration, agreement to allow class arbitration should not be implied in the contract without other supporting evidence of such an agreement. The defendants' appeal was suspended pending the district court's decision on this motion. The district court concluded that it would vacate the arbitration award if jurisdiction were restored to it. Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, 725 F.Supp.2d 444 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). The Second Circuit issued a limited remand of the appeal, and the district court granted Sterling's motion to vacate the arbitration award permitting class arbitration on August 9, 2010.

Plaintiffs appealed the district court's ruling on August 10, 2010. The Second Circuit, noting that the Supreme Court had declined to hold in Stolt-Nielsen that an arbitration agreement must expressly state that the parties agree to class arbitration and that there is a strong presumption in favor of enforcing arbitration awards, reversed the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions to confirm the arbitration award allowing the plaintiffs to proceed in arbitration with their effort to get a class certified. Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, 646 F.3d 113 (2nd Cir. 2011). The district court confirmed the award on October 26, 2011.

The arbitration is ongoing.

Jennifer Gitter - 03/16/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.
Defendant(s) Sterling Jewelers, Inc
Plaintiff Description The complaint named as the plaintiff class current and former Sterling female employees harmed by sex and age discrimination.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Attorneys fees
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-0236 : EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. (W.D.N.Y.)
Additional Resources
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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)
2:08-cv-2875 (S.D.N.Y.) 01/14/2013
EE-NY-0237-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiffs' First Amended Class Action Complaint 04/23/2008
EE-NY-0237-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/18/2008 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order 07/15/2008 (564 F.Supp.2d 307) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 12/28/2009 (677 F.Supp.2d 661) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order 07/26/2010 (725 F.Supp.2d 444) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/03/2010
EE-NY-0237-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/06/2010 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/11/2010
EE-NY-0237-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order 12/10/2010 (2010 WL 5158617) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 07/07/2011 (646 F.3d 113)
EE-NY-0237-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Costs 10/17/2011
EE-NY-0237-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/26/2011 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hall, Peter W. (Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0237-0010
Lynch, Gerard E. (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0006
Pooler, Rosemary S. (N.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0237-0010
Rakoff, Jed Saul (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0237-0001 | EE-NY-0237-0003 | EE-NY-0237-0004 | EE-NY-0237-0005 | EE-NY-0237-0007 | EE-NY-0237-0009 | EE-NY-0237-0012 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Winter, Ralph K. Jr. (FISCR, Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0237-0010
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aziz, Sahar (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Donnell, Loren B (Florida)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Grant, Lynda J (New York)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Richards, John Douglas (New York)
EE-NY-0237-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Smith, Sam Jones (Florida)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Warren, Thomas A. (Florida)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Yang, Jenny R. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0237-0002 | EE-NY-0237-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Maatman, Gerald L Jr. (Illinois)
EE-NY-0237-9000
Zashin, Stephen S (Ohio)
EE-NY-0237-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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