The Wet Seal, Inc., (NASDAQ: WTSLA) or "Wet Seal," a leading national
specialty retailer of teens' and women's apparel and accessory items,
announced today that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) has concluded its investigation of the Company. A month ago, with
the support of its newly-formed Board of Directors and President & Chief
Operating Officer, Wet Seal voluntarily collaborated with the EEOC on an
extensive program designed to continue to promote diversity and protect
all employees and employment candidates from discrimination.
The EEOC advised Wet Seal that it had closed the charges that had been
pending as part of its investigation with the exception of only one, a
charge by former employee Nicole Cogdell. The EEOC did not find evidence
of discrimination on any charge ther than a finding on a part of Ms.
Cogdell's individual claim arising from alleged actions by a former
executive who left the Company in 2011. The Company will present its
defense to that claim in court.
The Company's new leadership team has been unequivocally vocal about its
commitment to equal employment opportunity in all employment practices,
as well as a work environment that is free from unlawful discrimination,
harassment and retaliation. Many new programs have been added to its
equal opportunity program, including training of its work force.
Wet Seal's clear zero tolerance policy on discrimination was reiterated
in September when the Company re-issued its Commitment to Inclusion,
Diversity and Respect statement, reminding employees of Wet Seal's
policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation and
advising employees on how to report complaints. The Company also
established a 24 hour Ethics Hotline to which employees can report
incidents that violate policies of non-discrimination, non-harassment
and non-retaliation to a live representative from Global Compliance, a
third party service (1-800-435-1445).
"We demand our employees' full commitment to and compliance with these
policies," said Kenneth Seipel, President and Chief Operating Officer of
The Wet Seal, Inc. "We ask them to think carefully about the meaning and
importance of every sentence; to reflect upon whether their words
and actions are fully supporting these policies. We believe this will
make Wet Seal an even better place to work."
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