Monday, June 27, 2011

Walmart Class Action for Women Fails at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on June 20 dismissed a sexual discrimination class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart.

In a 5-4 ruling in the case of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Betty Dukes, et al., the Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision that would have allowed up to 1.5 million female workers to sue for back pay and punitive damages that could have totaled billions of dollars.

The decision will impact the way similar lawsuits can be structured and litigated.

However, on the surface the result makes sense. One cannot successfully file lawsuits unless they are able to identify a common injury, such as a companywide discriminatory policy. In this particular case the plaintiff’s key evidence was Wal-Mart’s policy of allowing local supervisors discretion over pay and promotion decisions.

Although the 'discretion' may have been bias, it's not proof enough to warrant a class action lawsuit (and of course no indication they would even win once the lawsuit began).

Labor proponents on the other hand will bemuse how another victory is given to corporations who have additional protections against organized labor forces.

1 comment:

  1. Additional Walmart troubles: