Many questions come to mind as a class action suit continues against corporate giant WalMart. The sexual discrimination case began over a decade ago and is presently being heard by the Supreme Court. The retailer is being accused of systematically discriminating against possibly millions of employees. The chief complaint lies in regard to female employee’s terms of promotions and pay rates.
The primary issue to be decided before the suit can proceed is if the plaintiffs have a valid class action suit or must each file their cases separately. Legal representatives for Walmart claim the cases are too diverse to be tried together in a solitary class action case. However, the plaintiffs argue that single cases would be too expensive and difficult. A trial court, as well as the U. S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco has given the go ahead with the case.
The impact of this case may be enormous. It may literally redefine discrimination law in the U. S. Other corporate giants such as General Electric and Microsoft are watching the case closely as they may potentially be directly affected.
The case began in 2000 when Betty dukes claimed she had been denied proper training for possible promotions. Her legal representative, Brad Seligman, states that Walmart has methodically discriminated against female employees. Women are drastically underrepresented in management positions throughout the company. The case also sites that female employees are paid less than their male colleagues for fulfilling the same job requirements and positions.
There is no doubt that the result of this case will have resounding repercussions no matter which way it is decided. A win for Duke will no doubt incite the rise of many other sexual discrimination law suits. Should it be decided in her favor it will also spur other types of discrimination suits for other minorities and for those with disabilities. However, should Walmart win the case it will make it much more difficult for legitimate sexual discrimination suits to argue that various positions in different stores can have enough in common to be considered a class.
Walmart’s enormous size can actually work against them in this particular suit if the class action should proceed. Statistics is one of the most useful means to proving a discrimination suit in the workplace. This is usually only effective if the company is large enough to have the numbers to do a valid statistical analysis.
No matter which side wins discrimination law could potentially be altered. Corporate America is keeping their eyes on the outcome as are the vast minorities.