On Monday, the Supreme Court said that it will hear an appeal by Wal-Mart to dismiss a massive class-action sex discrimination lawsuit. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Supreme Court justices will hear the appeal in the spring.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 6-5 in April that the lawsuit could go forward. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest private employer, has argued that the class-action lawsuit is too large to be viable or to defend against. Wal-Mart says that the lawsuit is the largest class action of its kind in history and would lead to numerous similar lawsuits in California.
The lawsuit was originally filed by six women in federal court in 2001 on behalf of 500,000 to 1.5 million women who are employed or have been employed in the past at Wal-Mart stores around the country. The women claim that they were systematically paid less and promoted less often than men.
Wal-Mart claims that the women should file their lawsuits against the individual stores where they worked because each store operates individually and each woman would have faced different circumstances at different stores with different managers and in different regions. The plaintiffs disagree and say that Wal-Mart exercises control over all of its stores and that they were aware of the discrimination and didn’t do enough to stop it.
Court to look at huge sex bias suit targeting Wal-Mart (Los Angeles Times)