Supreme Court rules for Wal-Mart in massive job discrimination lawsuit
June 20th, 2011
10:21 AM ET

Supreme Court rules for Wal-Mart in massive job discrimination lawsuit

The Supreme Court put the brakes on a massive job discrimination lawsuit against mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., saying sweeping class-action status that could potentially involve hundreds of thousands of current and former female workers was simply too large.

The ruling Monday was a big victory for the nation's largest private employer, and the business community at large.

The high-profile case– perhaps the most closely watched of the high court's term– is among the most important dealing with corporate versus worker rights that the justices have ever heard, and could eventually impact nearly every private employer, large and small.

Toobin: Why justices shut down Wal-Mart case

Gisel Ruiz, Executive Vice President for Wal-Mart U.S., said in a statement the company was "pleased" with the court's ruling.

"Walmart has had strong policies against discrimination for many years. The Court today unanimously rejected class certification and, as the majority made clear, the plaintiffs’ claims were worlds away from showing a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy," the statement said. "By reversing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, the majority effectively ends this class action lawsuit.

“Walmart has a long history of providing advancement opportunities for our female associates and will continue its efforts to build a robust pipeline of future female leaders.”

The case is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (10-277).

soundoff (948 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    That's ridiculous. Just because the abuse is monstrously widespread and pervasive is no reason to allow it to continue. This is precisely the sort of case this court ought to be hearing. Did someone pay them off?

    June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jkhn

      Point is, its so large its the bandwagon effect. Highly suspect that this deviant behavior is in every sigle store

      June 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      It is patently unfair to allow a suit that broad. It would be impossible for Walmart to defend. While there may be good merit for the suit, allowing that large a class action suit to proceed would only benefit the attorneys that brought the suit. It is much more appropriate for the smaller class action suits to proceed on the lower courts. It is virtually unheard of to allow such a suit and was a greedy hail Mary on the part of the attorneys.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. kmillard

    See I worked for that company for 7 years and I saw so much that went on there. I will NEVER work for em ever again. The management is horrible. They claim we are a family oriented company and we will take care of you. If you really wanted to take care of me you would've never told me to go find another job if I wanted to have a certain day off. Screw you and that company!!!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      maybe they were taking care of their customers. Wow, what a novel concept. Maybe you should have tried that and you might still have your job. HAHAHA

      June 20, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason_MI

      Seriously? You believe that an employer’s refusal to grant you a flexible work schedule is supporting evidence for a class action lawsuit where only the Tort lawyers profit?

      June 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. owlvan

    so if you violate the right of a few you can be punished but if you violate everyone's rights you get a free pass.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. link

    Could the Courts opinion be twisted any worse by this lame reporting! Read the full opinion and it makes sense. Its on the Supreme Court's website. Don't make emotional conclusions about this and stop being so ignorant.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      They liberal media strikes again.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Oscar

      I can't stop being ignorant

      June 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice Jeremiah

      SCOTUS is corrupt.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • sammieb51

      Let me guess - the suit going forward could "put an undue burden on the company" and that's unfair? But the company can collectively violate laws and discriminate against a whole class of workers and they're OK. This is not the SCOTUS anymore. Thanks to Scalia and Roberts, it is now the Supreme Court of the United Corporations.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    Have any of you ever shopped at a WalMart? All of the cashiers are fat lazy women that don't want to be there anyway. They're more into having a conversation about what they did the night before with their neighboring cashier than even say hello to the customers.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      hahahahahaha indeed!!!!

      June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kara

      And you wait in a line a mile long before you even get to see the fat, lazy cashier.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • S

      And the male employees are any better?

      June 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. POD

    Is that the evil twin brother of 'too big to fail'.......'too big to sue'

    June 20, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • John N Florida

      Yes

      June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dik

    When the highest court in the land turns away a case that directly affects the present and past work lives of hundreds of thousands of workers (who had turned to them to make a decision, not necessarily to side with them) then we have reached a sad sad level of fair representation in our country that can only have one outcome: a return to lobbying for the type of unionization where the people are encouraged to strike believing that no one will come to their defense and that they will have to fight for everything in the future. For a company that hates unions they seem to be doing everything to help revitalize them.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. John N Florida

    5/4 decision FOR business. Who would have guessed this outcome?

    June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Burton

      9-0 decision....the 5/4 split was one 1 section, but the overall outcome was unanimously supported

      June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. MM

    Isn't the whole point of a class action lawsuit to prevent the mass chaos that would happen if a ton of claims were brought separately? Yep, I'm pretty sure thats what they told us in law school.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ahcleem

    Oh yeah –
    And Walmart can vote now. Thanks to the same muddled-headed people that bought you this decision

    June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shane

    I wonder how many of the justices hold Walmart stock...

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rennie

    This is hardly surprising, given the conservative-led court. The best course is for people, especially females, to STOP shopping at Wal-Mart. Of course, such solidarity is next to impossible in the U.S. today. Capitalism demands that corporations and individuals alike adopt a materialist ideology of self-interest, rather than class solidarity–or rather, class solidarity today means a collective disposition of anti-intellectualism, material self-interest and crass consumerism. The working classes will continue to support Wal-Mart against their class interests because the corporation satisfies the working class's indelible habitus driven by necessity. There are consumption alternatives, but working class ideology "rejects" these, in favor of what is absolutely cheapest, convenient, and familiar. Pierre Bourdieu lays out the conceptual framework in his book, "Distinction," a must-read for everyone.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Chapeau...

      June 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • kristy a lamm

      Agreed, females in particular should avoid Walmart if at all possible – I for one will do my best. I am so glad that you mentioned Bourdieu, his work is second to none. I studied Sociology and would also recommend that everyone read "La Distinction" or "Distinction", his empirical research illuminates the systematic or underlying structures beneath the practices of social agents and how symbolic violence is used. He believed that it is necessary to explore the unseen or less than visible areas in society for one to be free.

      June 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MMMMman

    So if I get this right…..Wall Street banks are too big to fail, Wal-Mart is too big to sue, and the Pentagon is too big to audit.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kim

    Very few people realize what Walmart cashiers go through day in and day out. First of all, why does Walmart, having over 50 cash registers only have 7 registers open at any time? These numbers are set by corporate and its too easy for customers to take it out on the cashiers that are just there to ring them up. I used to shop at Walmart, until it took me 2 hours to check out every time (on a fast day). That and every other thing Walmart sells is made in China. Walmart does not value their customers' time and they don't value their employees either. Sam Walton would turn in his grave if he knew.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. akash

    Interesting: Thus far why did we tried Saddam Hussain? He too killed hundrends of thousands of people, the number was too big! Since the law can not handle the magnanimity of crime indicates that law is legalizing the crime! But in the first place, how did it grow to such huge extent that it can not be handled? I see a huge corruption racket involving law makers, politicians and corporates. I am sure if dug more, other giant corporates will be found in the same boat. And this stand of high-court will just assure them to keep doing it and perhaps reach a level where the law will pull back its hand leaving the citizens helpless. Truly, America is no longer the country of honest hard worker rather corrupt legal system, politicians and corporates.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      By your logic we should try all the murder or drug cases at one time in one giant case!!!!!! Don't you understand that at some point a class action with 100"s of thousands of "victims" is just to big to be handled in one court case? How do you show each employee was indeed discriminated against, how do you examine each individual claim of discrimination, how can any system administer justice in a court to 100's of thousands at once? How do you weed out those that were actually disciminated against against those that weren't dealing with 100's of thousands at a time? No one is stopping anyone from going to court to get justice – they are just not leting 100's of thousands do it in one case. Other then the trial lawyers who make a fortune from these massive class action suits – no one is hurt.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35