Protecting Employers Since 1985

June 2011

By: Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.

Good news for employers from the U.S. Supreme Court! The giant retailer, Walmart, has won a huge legal victory. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided in a 5-4 decision that the massive class action lawsuit against Walmart is not legally correct. It should not be a class action lawsuit.

The case was the largest sexual discrimination lawsuit ever. The U.S. Supreme Court stopped the case from proceeding as a class action on Monday, June 20, 2011. The case pitted Walmart against millions of its female employees.

The court’s decision could have broad implications for workers seeking jointly to sue their employers. It is a relief to many employers watching the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court was unanimous in saying that the women brought the wrong kind of class action against Walmart, improperly mixing questions that can be decided in a class action suit, such as whether to order Walmart to stop alleged discrimination, with separate factual issues that must be decided for each female, such as how much back pay to award that female employee.

The Court’s decision emphasized that Walmart had a corporate policy directive against discrimination and left personnel decisions about pay and promotion policies to each individual Walmart store manager.

This U.S. Supreme Court case will be very important legal precedent and guidance for any future large class action cases.

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