In 2001 six women who worked at Wal-Mart banded together to prove gender bias in the pay and promotion practices experienced at the mega employer (National Organization for Women, n. d. ). Wal-Mart attempted to separate the women by asking the lower courts to not allow a class action suit. One after another, the lower courts agreed this could be heard as a class action suit. Then in 2011 it was brought to the Supreme Court. The 1. million women employees of Wal-Mart who eventually joined the suit were claiming that although the majority of employees were women, the longevity of women surpassed the men and the number of female department managers was upwards of 80%, less than ? of all general store managers overall were women (Wade, L. June 20, 2011). Wal-Mart’s defense and statement stood solid throughout the ten year process.
They claimed that they have anti-discrimination policies in place and furthermore, they insist that the suit should not go forward as a class action suit (Tahmincioglu, E. April 18, 2011). The Supreme Court agreed. In June 2011 Justice Scalia made the deciding vote, stating “Plaintiffs wish to sue about literally millions of employment decisions at once,” Scalia wrote. “Without some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together, it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members’ claims for relief will produce a common answer to the crucial question why was I disfavored. ” (Fox News, 2011,para 4).
Wal-Mart’s performance management system could have prevented the suit if the system was uniform across all regions of the country. It should have been computerized, well documented and uniform in each and every department, and each and every store. I am sure that Wal-Mart has hired scores of Human Resource and Legal professionals to evaluate its systems to ensure that this type of thing does not happen again. And rightly they should. It is my opinion that Wal-Mart got a free pass on this ruling.
I had followed this case since inception. There are scores of data proving that there was discrimination. Unfortunately that is not what the Supreme Court was deciding. They were deciding whether or not the suit should be class action. The women are still free to sue Wal-Mart individually. However the expense, time and discrimination that may stem from that may be too much to bear.
References: Fox News. (June 20, 2011). Supreme Court Decision in Wal-Mart Class-Action Claim Brings Praise, Anger. FoxNews. com Politics. Retrieved from http://www. foxnews. com/politics/2011/06/20/groups-blast-laud-high-court-for-decision-against-nations-largest/ National Organization for Women. (n. d. ) Class Action Suit Against Wal-Mart Approved, NOW Awaits Justice Against the Merchant of Shame. Retrieved from http://www. now. org/issues/wfw/042910walmart. html Tahmincioglu, E. (April 18, 2011). Wal-Mart Gender Bias Suit: What it Means to Delaware. Delaware’s NPR NewsStation. Retrieved from http://www. wdde. org/10272-walmart-gender-bias/