When an individual in Minnesota applies for a job and obtains that position, they expect to be treated like any other employee with a similar position. Although these expectations are common, they are not always fulfilled. Although a male and a female are employed in the same position, a male might receive a higher pay, better benefits and higher chance for promotion. Gender discrimination creates a potential hostile work environment. In addition, it could force an employee to quit and cause them damages.

A class-action lawsuit was recently filed against Sterling Jewelers. The company owns 1,400 jewelry stores across the United States, including Jared and Kay Jewelers. According to a report, the claim alleges that the company discriminated against female employees. This occurred by paying females less, denying them promotions and failing to respond to some complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The complaint includes 16 current and former employees that allege very similar complaints. A couple in Minnesota cited the difference in salary for the same position and experience level. A woman was paid $35,000 a year, while her husband received $55,000 for the same store manager position.

Although Sterling Jewelers denies the allegations against them, this is not the first time complaints like this have been filed against them. These women have been fighting for equal pay since 2005. The current class-action lawsuit will go to arbitration, and the results of the situation will rely on whether there are compelling reasons for the alleged claims.

When employment discrimination is experienced in the workplace, an employee can file an action against their employer based on civil rights violations. This could result in compensation being awarded for their damages, such as back pay, lost wages and punitive damages.

No matter the situation, if an employee suspects gender discrimination or any other type of discrimination, it is important that they seek advice about the situation. This will help them determine whether they have a cause of action and will establish the appropriate course to take.

Source: Slate, “Another Reason Not to Go to Jared: Female Employees Say They’re Paid Less Than Men,” Amanda Hess, Mar. 31, 2014