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Wal-Mart Sex-discrimination Case Headed to the Supreme Court
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In 2001, a lawsuit was launched against Wal-Mart by Brad Seligman, civil rights attorney.  Betty Dukes, named as the lead plaintiff, worked as a cashier in a Pittsburg, CA Wal-Mart, and said she had problems with a female supervisor.  She claimed that even after several years of working there, she was denied chances to advance, even though she received good reviews on her performance.  The suit’s goal is to cover every woman that worked at Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club’s stores since December 1998.  If this holds true, the class for this suit will exceed one million women.

In 2004, it was ruled by a federal district judge that this could go forward as a class action suit, but now it is going to a higher court to receive a new ruling.  The suit is suing for billions of dollars in damages, aiming to give back pay for over a million women who worked or work there, claiming that Wal-Mart has a “corporate culture” which fostered discrimination companywide.

  
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The Supreme Court is set to decide whether the allegations of these workers are enough to justify a class-action lawsuit to represent more than a million female Wal-Mart employees.  The case is set for argument on March 29, although it has been 12 years since they last reviewed the standards which certify a class action suit.

Sworn complaints have been made by more than 100 employees of the retail giant that Wal-Mart “Local managers made sexist decisions about promotions and pay, and top officials did nothing to stop them,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Advocates for the employees feel that if Wal-Mart won, it would crush any efforts to make companies that are biased change their ways.  On the other hand, corporate supporters say that if a class action suit is allowed in a ruling by the Supreme Court, it could open up a host of antitrust, employment, and product-liability suits.

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