Wal-Mart Beats Class Action for Discrimination Against Women

By Thomas McKinney

A group of women working for Wal-Mart sought to start a class action lawsuit for discrimination against 1.5 million women – one of the largest class actions in history.  To do so, they had to show that the 1.5 million claims shared a lot in common.  In Wal-Mart v. Dukes (June 20, 2011) the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the women could not sue as a class because they could not show such “commonality.”  The Supreme Court noted that the women “wish to sue about literally millions of employment decisions at once…without some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together[.

The women’s legal argument was fatally inconsistent because they claimed that Wal-Mart’s policy of giving local store managers discretion caused the discrimination.  The Supreme Court blasted this argument: “On its face, of course, that is just the opposite of a uniform employment practice that would provide the commonality needed for a class action; it is a policy against having uniform employment practice.”

The women can still sue on their own behalf, just not as the “class representatives” for one of the largest lawsuits ever filed.

June 21, 2011 – Castronovo & McKinney – Paul Castronovo

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.