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Federal Court Upholds Female Employees' Right to Sue Wal-Mart in Class Action Gender Bias Suit

April 30, 2010

As Santa Ana, California Class Action Employment Attorneys, we have been following the recent news, ruled in federal appeals court this week, that thousands of women who work for Wal-Mart can move forward and sue the giant retailer in a class action lawsuit, over allegations of gender discrimination.

The decision was made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit based in San Francisco, and is reportedly a big step necessary to move the gender bias case to a court trial after nearly ten years. According to the New York Times, the federal appeals court gave a sharply divided 6-5 ruling, allowing the sex discrimination lawsuit to move forward as a class action suit. This suit could be the biggest employment discrimination case in U.S. history, with female employees seeking billions of dollars from Wal-mart.

The lawsuit reportedly began in 2001 with six female employees led by Betty Dukes, a California Wal-Mart greeter, who claimed that the retail giant systematically engaged in gender discrimination--paying the female greeters less than their male colleagues, even though they consistently had higher performance ratings and more seniority. The six employees also claimed that they received fewer promotions, fewer job opportunities, and smaller raises than the male employees, and had to wait longer for them. In one documented case, a female worker was told she was not qualified to be a manager because she could not stack dog food bags that weighed fifty pounds.

The Washington Post reports that the original class included female employees who had worked for Wal-Mart since 1998, initially estimated to include around 1.6 million women, which would have made it the largest sex discrimination case in this nation's history. The appeals court decided to leave out the group of female workers that left Wal-Mart prior to the 2001 filing of the suit, which could still mean that the class action lawsuit might include more than 1 million female employees. Wal-mart claims that the number is closer to 500,000.

Betty Dukes, the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit said in a statement reported in the New York Times that although this case has taken a long time and has been a large amount of work, it appears that they will finally get their day in court. "That's all we've ever asked for," Dukes claimed.

If you or your co-workers have suffered gender-based discrimination in your Orange County or Southern California workplace, contact Howard Law, PC today. Our Anaheim-based Labor and Employment Lawyers are dedicated to finding a solution that is right for your recovery. For a free consultation, call 1-800-872-5925.

Court Strikes Blow to Wal-Mart in Sex Bias Suit, Reuters, April 26, 2010

Wal-Mart Gender Case Divides Court, The New York Times, April 26, 2010

Appeals Court Upholds Women's Right to Sue Wal-Mart for Alleged Discrimination, The Washington Post, April 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)