Wal-Mart Could Face Largest Employment Discrimination Lawsuit in U.S. History
The lawsuit Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. started in 2001. Seven female employees, reports The New York Times, "realized the men were being paid more than women for comparable jobs and were getting promoted more often." Since then, the lawsuit has has a long and winding road, as Wal-Mart opposed it. Two courts ruled that the complaint could be treated as a class-action one, that is, as one large lawsuit rather than as thousands of individual ones. Over the years, many other Wal-Mart female employees signed on to join in the lawsuit.
The latest developments in the history of this litigation are that Wal-Mart has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review that class-action status, and the women suing have countered, by filing their petition with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that the justices not review the class-action status.
The stakes are high. If the lawsuit goes to trial as a class action, Wal-Mart might have to pony up $1 billion in damages. Also, the damage to Wal-Mart's brand name could be enormous. If this lawsuit succeeds, other females employed by other deep pockets -- that is, large companies -- could feel empowered to file similar class actions for what they perceive to be gender discrimination.