Posted on 29 Mar 2011
The Supreme Court today heard arguments in the sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart.
The court will decide whether hundreds of thousands of former and current Wal-Mart employees can sue the store in a class action suit. The women say they were repeatedly turned down for promotions, while men who were no more qualified advanced.
If the court grants the women class certification, it most likely will become the largest employment class action suit in history, potentially involving every female worker employed at the company since 1998.
Federal courts have ruled the lawsuit should move forward, but Wal-Mart says it is impossible to get a fair deal. The chain says it is impossible to lump together the experiences of thousands of women in different positions in its more than three thousand stores.
“Wal-Mart is attempting to dismantle the Supreme Court’s employment discrimination class action jurisprudence,” says Plaintiffs’ counsel Jocelyn Larkin in a press release. “Such far reaching changes to the law would require the Court to overrule 45 years of civil rights and class action precedent. This would rule out certification of all but the smallest employment discrimination cases —and that’s not what Congress intended.”