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 other 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
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.”