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Supreme Court to Decide Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

Commentators appeared to side largely with Wal-Mart after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what has become the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history, according to Reuters News.

At issue for future lawsuits, is whether employees can come together in filing large class-action civil lawsuits that allege workplace violations against some of the nation’s largest retailers. Detractors claim it will be open season on chain stores. Supporters contend such large lawsuits may best force national corporations to follow the state and federal laws meant to protect workers’ rights.

Our Great Neck employment law attorneys understand the challenges employees face when it comes to discrimination in the workplace. New York employment discrimination can take many forms, including age, race and gender.

Duke V. Wal-Mart Inc. centers on whether 1.5 million current and former Wal-Mart employees were properly certified as a class by a U.S. District Court in San Francisco. If the case is allowed to proceed, the 1.5 million woman argue that the company’s female workers in 3,800 stores faced discrimination in pay and in promotional decisions.

Court watchers say one potential outcome would be to send it back to the lower court, where more stringent standards would be applied to creating classes, which could split the case into smaller segments.

Several justices made comments indicating the court may also uphold the plaintiff’s rights to seek relief as a class, but may not award back pay or punitive damages. Such an outcome would require Wal-Mart to clarify how it pays and makes promotional decisions. Plaintiffs would have to pursue monetary claims separately.
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However, a look at the court’s history tends to favor the plaintiff. About 70 percent of rulings in employment discrimination cases have favored the plaintiff. This case is also the first sex-discrimination case to face a court with three female Justices.

The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman represents businesses and employees dealing with employment issues, including discrimination, wage and our issues and wrongful termination. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.