Employment news: Wal-Mart gender discrimination lawsuit could cost them billions

Legal news for employment attorneys. Wal-Mart discrimination lawsuit given the OK to continue as a class-action status case.

Employment lawyer alert- Wal-Mart is facing a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit.

San Francisco, CA—A lawsuit hailed by many as the largest sex-discrimination class-action case in U.S. history, may proceed against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The major lawsuit is being called a “major blow” to the world’s largest retailer and largest private U.S. employer, potentially exposing them to “billions of dollars of potential damages,” as reported by Reuters.

On Monday, April 26, 2010 the Ninth Circuit court decided on a 6-5 ruling that over one million women can be included in the class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit began with Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart employee who sued with six other plaintiffs on sexual discrimination grounds in 2001. In 2004, a trial judge certified the lawsuit as class-action case. The plaintiff’s alleged they were routinely deterred from management positions, and were pushed to other jobs like cashiers that had little opportunities for promotions. One woman claimed she was told she wasn’t qualified to hold a management position because she couldn’t stack 50-pound bags of dog food. In addition, the lawsuit says female workers were paid less and received fewer promotions then their male coworkers at Wal-Mart, and that the retailer’s corporate structure fostered gender discrimination.

Wal-Mart asked the San Francisco Ninth Court of Appeals to undo the class-action status of the lawsuit, which was denied on Monday. Wal-Mart plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for employment lawyers.