You're almost certainly familiar with Sterling Jewelers even if you don't think you are. "Every kiss begins with Kay." "He should have gone to Jared." Yes, Sterling and parent company Signet own Kay, Jared, Osterman, J.B. Robinson, and lots more chains as the nation's biggest jewelry retailer, explains a lengthy profile in the New York Times Magazine. But this is not a flattering piece. Reporter Taffy Brodesser-Akner details years of lawsuits and accusations by female employees that describe a "good old boys" culture running the gamut from women getting paid less and passed over for promotions to lurid comments, unwanted touching, and alleged rape. "The sworn statements, when read from beginning to end, are shocking, first for the consistency of horrors across cities and regions," writes Brodesser-Akner. "Then for the egregiousness and audacity of the abuse they detail."
"But," she continues, "as you make your way through the declarations—to that of a woman in Missouri who, upon finding her store manager with his penis exposed, was asked if she wanted to join in, or another woman, whose manager felt her up while her boyfriend, also a Sterling employee, was facing another direction—they become shocking simply for their volume." Former Signet CEO Mark Light is mentioned frequently in the accounts. One court filing says he and regional VPs "have had sex with women employees and conditioned women's success at Sterling upon acceding to such demands." Sterling tells CNN it is "disappointed that The New York Times decided to publish an article primarily based on decades-old allegations, and we believe casts our company unfairly." Read the full Times story. (Read more Longform stories.)