Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held that the class of plaintiffs in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was not a proper class under the law, former female employees of Wal-Mart have refiled their lawsuit for sex discrimination. According to the lawyers for the plaintiffs, the new class is approximately 90,000 females, as opposed to the class of 1.6 million in the original Dukes class action suit.
The SC held in their June ruling that the class of 1.6 million women nationwide claiming sex discrimination against Wal-Mart did not share enough commonalities in their discrimination to fulfill the requirements of a class under federal class action laws. The Court held that the plaintiffs did not show that the acts alleged by the plaintiffs could be proven as occurring similarly to all member of the large class. The justices wrote in the majority opinion that “the respondents have not identified a common mode of exercising discretion that pervades the entire company.”
The legal claim in the two cases, however, remains the same – former Wal-Mart female employees allege that the retail giant has a policy of promoting and hiring male employees over female employees. The lawsuit has been refiled in a federal court in California. The case can be filed once again because the Court did not rule on the merits of the sex discrimination case, just on the issue of the class certification.
The outcome in this lawsuit will have a large impact on employment law cases throughout the nation. It’s likely that this case will continue to see high visibility and media attention as it proceeds through the court system a second time with a smaller class of plaintiffs.
Source: Business Insurance, “California-only class refiles sex discrimination suit against Wal-Mart,” Judy Greenwald, 10/27/2011