Wal-Mart’s woes continue with resumed accusations of gender discrimination in California and Texas.
Back in June, we reported on the original complaint representing 1.5 million women that was thrown out by the Supreme Court due to the incorrect use of a class action suit. The court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have enough in common to file as a class, and in addition, failed to prove the existence of a nationwide policy that led to gender discrimination.
As expected, the women were not deterred by this ruling and are continuing to fight Wal-Mart’s discriminatory pay and promotion practices. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs say that these first two complaints are only the beginning of the “armada of cases” women have promised to file all over the country, amending their suits to use a state-by-state approach.
In these new filings, the women believe they have reason to be hopeful since the Supreme Court never ruled on the merits of their action, only the technicalities of class suits. The original decision, the women say, “did not preclude prosecution of a class that was consistent with its newly announced guidelines and standards.”
The amended lawsuit in California will cover 5,000 current and former female employees between 1998 and the present. At the same time in Texas, close to 45,000 women will be represented under the new suit.
Evidence of discrimination in California extends to the behaviour of one store manager who suggested to a female employee that she “doll up” to become more promotable; another told a female assistant manager who missed work because of a sick child that ‘this is why we are concerned about promoting women with children.”
The story is the same in Texas where it is alleged that managers “do not require or use valid, job related factors in making the promotion selections.” Instead, “Wal-Mart’s managers rely on discriminatory stereotypes and biased views about women in making pay and promotion decisions.”
Spokespeople from Wal-Mart maintain that the claims are groundless and “unsuitable for class treatment because the situations of each individual are so different. The statewide class that the plaintiffs’ lawyers now propose is no more appropriate than the nationwide class that the Supreme Court has already rejected.”
“Wal-Mart is not the company the plaintiffs’ lawyers say it is,” said Wal-Mart’s Rossitier. But for the women seeking changes in Wal-Mart’s promotion policies compensatory relief and punitive damages, whether the store is indeed a “great place for women to work” remains to be seen.
- Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Case Thrown Out of Court (legallyeasy.rocketlawyer.com)
- Women File New Class-Action Bias Case Against Wal-Mart (nytimes.com)
- Wal-Mart Workers Limit Gender Bias Suit to California Stores (businessweek.com)
- Wal-Mart Sued in Texas for Gender Discrimination (reuters.com)