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June 20, 2011

Breaking News…Wal-Mart wins in Supreme Court Decision

Filed under: Compliance,Discrimination,Legal Issues — Tags: , , — Joyce Marsh, HR Consultant, SPHR @ 12:03 pm

Breaking News…

The Supreme Court has blocked a sexual discrimination class action lawsuit representing 1.6 million women against Wal-Mart.  The justices agreed that the lawsuit cannot proceed as a class action in its current form.  This reversed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. 

What’s next for the women who filed the lawsuit?  If they choose to proceed, they may pursue their claims on their own which will make it more difficult to reach a favorable financial verdict.  Additionally, this decision by the Supreme Court may make it more difficult for similar lawsuits to proceed as class action.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the court’s conservative majority said there needs to be common elements tying together “literally millions of employent decisions at once.”

But Scalia said that in the lawsuit against the nation’s largest private employer, “That is entirely absent here.”

In a statement, Wal-Mart said, “The court today unanimously rejected class certification and, as the majority made clear, the plaintiffs’ claims were worlds away from showing a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy.”

Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said “the court has told employers that they can rest easy, knowing that the bigger and more powerful they are, the less likely their employees will be able to join together to secure their rights.”

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