On March 29, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the Wal-Mart employment-discrimination case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., which could have significant implications for the plaintiffs, the company and other potential employment-discrimination lawsuits across the country.
In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed, women made less than 60 cents for every dollar a male worker made. Despite efforts to address the issue, pay disparity among men and women has remained a problem. Though the data shows that some progress has been made, it also shows there is still a ways left to go. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, women on average earned 77 cents for every dollar their full-time male counterparts made in 2009.
On May 17, 2010, a federal jury in a class action suit in Manhattan awarded 12 former female sales representatives a total of $3.4 million in damages for alleged gender discrimination by the pharmaceutical giant Novartis. The jury found that the company had discriminated against the women in terms of pay and promotion, mostly on the basis of pregnancy.