A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Federal judge rejects class status in Wal-Mart discrimination suit

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Friday rejected a potential gender discrimination class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart [corporate website]. This lawsuit, which aimed to represent 150,000 female Wal-Mart employees, was an attempt to file a smaller representative version [AP report] of an earlier gender discrimination class action lawsuit estimated to include more than 1.5 million women. The earlier lawsuit was filed in 2001 by female Wal-Mart employees who contended that Wal-Mart's nationwide policies resulted in lower pay for women than men in comparable positions and longer waits for management promotions than men. The US Supreme Court [official website] in 2011 ruled [JURIST report] that the group of women who sought to recover damages from Wal-Mart failed to meet the requirements for class certification. The district judge stated in Friday's ruling that this smaller suit remained too disparate to qualify as a class action lawsuit and that plaintiffs' lawyers failed to show qualifying evidence of gender bias. Plaintiffs' attorney, Randy Renick, stated he planned to appeal the judgment and that they were "deeply disappointed in the court's decision regarding what we remain convinced is a strong class action case against Wal-Mart for wide scale gender discrimination."

This is the most recent lawsuit of those filed against Wal-Mart in past years. In June of last year New York City filed a derivative suit [JURIST report] in Delaware Chancery Court against Wal-Mart, alleging that both officers and board members of the company breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders by improperly handling reports of bribery that occurred in Mexico. In June of 2011 a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled [JURIST report] that a group of women seeking to recover damages from Wal-Mart could file lawsuits until October of that year. This ruling came after the US Supreme Court rejected the 2001 class action, and applied to the women who had received the required permission to sue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [official website]. In February 2011 Wal-Mart also escaped liability after a judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan ruled [JURIST report] that Wal-Mart did not wrongly fire an employee who had been using medical marijuana to treat a brain tumor.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.