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Wal-Mart Class Action Lawsuit to be Decided by the Supreme Court

2010-12-14

The Supreme Court will decide whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc. must face what coud be the largest workplace class-action lawsuit ever certified.  The original case (Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vs. Betty Dukes et al) was initially filed in 2001 by six female employees.  The women claimed to have been paid less than men in comparable positions despite higher performance ratings and seniority.  They also allege that they received fewer and waited longer for promotions to store management positions than males.

The women are seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, lost pay and punitive damages.  If certified, the case is expected to cover more than 1.5 million members. 

History

In 2004, the District Court granted class-action status to women who work or have worked in one or more Wal-Mart stores at any time since 1998.

In 2007, a three-judge appeals court panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's ruling.

In April 2010, an en banc 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 6-5 to uphold most aspects of the District Court's ruling in a technical opnion.  The Court of Appeals determined that the proposed plaintiffs had enough in common to create a class despite the different positions held by the women.  The women held jobs that ranged from part-time entry level to full-time salaried managers.