Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a sex discrimination class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart could not move forward. The lawsuit was brought by six women more than a decade ago against the world’s largest private employer on behalf of current and former female employees of Wal-Mart, or up to 1.5 million women. The women claimed that Wal-Mart had systematically discriminated against women in pay and promotions.
The Supreme Court justices said that the case was too big and involved too many women across too many regions under too many different managers to prove or disprove that Wal-Mart had uniformly discriminated against women. Now, the women are vowing to continue their fight by pursuing smaller cases in lower courts. They will also pursue claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to an article on the possible next steps in Bloomberg, Wal-Mart could now face thousands of smaller lawsuits claiming sex discrimination in California and elsewhere. Wal-Mart had argued and the Supreme Court ruled that the sex discrimination cases would have to be brought more specifically rather than grouped together, and it seems the plaintiffs could do just that.
The statute of limitations was delayed while the class-action was pending, so women who believed they were discriminated against on the basis of sex can still sue individually. The people involved in the lawsuit said that a class action was the most efficient way to sue Wal-Mart, but it is not the only way and they will be pursuing multiple options.
Wal-Mart Women Vow to Press Bias Fight in Lower Court, U.S. Rights Agency (Bloomberg)