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. HenkV

    This is sad. Hundreds of thousands of ex employees now will not get their hoped for 50cents off on their next purchase at walmart, while the lawyers won't get their hundreds of millions of dollars of legal fees. It is just not fair.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. educatedguess

    donate unwanted items to salvation army stores, and buy what you need from salvation army stores. better quality, real dirt cheap.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jaxon

    The only people these lawsuits benefit are the lawyers. In the past 6 months I have gotten 3 letters in the mail saying that I was a customer of this co. and a settlement has been reached with this co. In one instance the lawsuit was settled for 50 million dollars. My cut if I wished to add my name to the lawsuit could be up to 21 dollars depending on how many people added there name. The lawyer’s problem got 1 million of the case and the people actually affected got pennies. I believe we should be able to take people and co. that do wrong to court, but things should not go to court because a lawyer sees a big payday and convinces people to take it to court.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    It was the right decision by the court....

    June 20, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob F.

    How Machiavellian! If you're going to screw people, screw enough so they can't come back and hurt you!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. Linton Dawson

    Evil Rich guy – are you serious!?!

    If it weren't for unions – you'd be working 7 day work weeks.....you should stop watcing FOX all day in your underwear and drinking But Light and educate your self.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Because of the Unions many have 0 day work weeks.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      linton: "If it weren't for unions – you'd be working 7 day work weeks.....you should stop watcing FOX all day in your underwear and drinking But Light and educate your self."

      Assuming that's true for the sake of argument, it's irrelevant to what you're (implicitly) claiming. Because the unions were necessary and good at one time does not mean that everything they want to achieve afterwards is also necessary and good.

      Trying to transfer legitimacy like that is fallacious.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nah

    zip: "Does the average American realize that the Supreme Court now rules almost 80% in favor of corporations??"

    Even if that's true, so? The purpose is to do what's right and fair, not to try to decide as many cases for or against one party over another.

    The class action wasn't certified because it was too large and, presumably, the claims lacked specific commonality. It can be broken into smaller groups where the group members actually have similar claims. That is, after all, the purpose of class actions: to let groups of people with the same claims sue as a group in order to lower the litigation costs per person.

    Get over it.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Zeelon

    看不懂…

    June 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dani

    Did anybody ever think people try to cash in on it whether they were screwed over or not? People don't get job promotions or low raises due to crappy performance, but because it must be discrimination!

    I'm sure there are quite a few legit cases there, and I'm fully aware still women make less on average even in this day and age, but you can easily doubt many of them too.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. John J.

    This is just wrong. Just so wrong to so many. Again corporate profits benefit and it comes out of the pocket of who? Just so wromg.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      john: "This is just wrong. Just so wrong to so many. Again corporate profits benefit and it comes out of the pocket of who? Just so wromg."

      OH GOD THE SKY IS FALLING.

      If you had understood the case before this article (which is, amazingly, devoid of all substance) was written, you'd have understood that the Supreme Court was deciding only if the class action was too large because, among other things, the claims lacked sufficient commonality. They were not deciding whether or not it could be broken into smaller classes, and were never deciding whether or not the workers could sue in the first place.

      Please stop being a moron. For your own sake.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. jorge washinsen

    I am not letting Wally world off the hook.They could be selling American goods at their stores if the people who are now making this stuff at slave labor wages decide one day they will want and demand better wages. The people will change it.I have seen many companies who were so caught up in offshore cheap labor start to increase the price on imported goods.We have lost manufacturing to China but some is creeping back as prices have doubled on some items especially in the price of brushes. The wheel that runs through a cow paddy always comes back to where it started.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Make it right

    "little people" (previous comment) wake up. This is how it's gonna be. If we are not replacing Washington we are gonna be the slaves of the corporations

    June 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. George Boston Rhynes

    The Conservative Supreme Courts and Wal-Mart god power has just been increased!

    SUBJECT: The god beside God with the Supreme Courts Actions proves that American Shoppers have made Wal-Mart a god beside god. Therefore, they answers to no one!

    Please see the real stories about Wal-Mart Store #2615 and Georgia Workers!

    I SAY THE HELL WITH THE CLARENCE THOMAS SUPREME COURTS. THE TRUTH IS THE TRUTH AND ITS TIME AMERICAN WORKERS ARE ACCEPTED AND RESPECTED AS AMERICAN CITIZENS WITH WORKERS RIGHTS. WHAT THE HELL WITH THE SUPREME COURTS OF AMERICA.

    DOES THIS MEAN A SUPREME COURT OF REPUBLICANS AND OTHERS AGAINST THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN WORKERS? I SAY WE THE PEOPLE HAVE LOST THIS COUNTRY AND UNLESS WE ALL WAKE UP BEYOND ONES SKIN OWN COLOR-–THEN WE ARE (ALL) DOOMED FOR DESTRUCTION.

    CLICK MY LINKS BELOW AND SEE THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT WAL-MART STORES THAT PRESIDENT MIKE DUKE AND THEIR BOARD OF DIRECTORS BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE HAVE BECOME A god BESIDE GOD AND THEREFORE ANSWERS TO NO ONE!

    NOW APPARENTLY THE SUPREME COURTS HAS INCREASE THEIR POWER AND THE PEOPLE SUPREME COURTS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. We had better wakeup

    1. Video #1. Former Manager Speaks Out in Truth!
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=390]

    2. Video #2. Wrongfully Terminated Department Manager!
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j95YdfoSyA&w=640&h=390]

    3. Video #3. Wrongfully Terminated Manager! You Tube!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/bostongbr#p/u/18/Z39W54O8CQs

    4. Video #4. Wrongfully Terminated Manager, George Boston Rhynes Speaks Out! You Tube!
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=390]

    5. Video #5, Wrongfully Terminated and Ignored Wal-Mart Manager

    http://walmartstore2615.blogspot.com

    June 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. LetsFixIT

    OF course – I am not surprised – The corrupt Banks are too-big-to-fail and get huge bailouts, But Discrimination is too-big-to-Deal-With so don't restrict or challange the power of the corporations (who/which have totally corrupted our govt.)!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Charles Phillips

    Usually I read the comments just to get a feel for what people think. In this case my opinion has been changed. I normally would root for the little guy vs. the big corporation. But, maybe, in ths case, it was the greedy lawyers who were the villians. I hope that the Supreme Court got it right and it's not a case of WalMart being too big to sue. Why does the article not show the Justice's For/Against count. Someone said it was unanimous. I'll hold off in railing aginst the conservitives until I learn more.

    June 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      The case was whether or not the members of the class had sufficiently similar claims to sue. If everyone in the class has different claims, it defeats one of the purposes of class action lawsuits: efficiency.

      No one said they couldn't break the claims into smaller groups (of say 20,000 people).

      June 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      In this case it was hard to root for the little guy. It was a group of women who sued because they weren't being promoted. I guess nobody told them that if they're working the floor at walmart they probably aren't that qualified for senior management. Instead they just played the discrimination card.

      June 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Nah, the way that you explained it makes far, far more sense than the story above. The impression I was getting was, it was too many people, which is extremely dangerous.
      Consider if a city were poisoned by willful disregard for community safety by a chemical company, now millions are injured.
      The way the story is written makes it sound as though that company would be protected from all who suffered injury from forming a class action suit, whereas DIFFERING claims SHOULD be handled on their merits of difference and similarity.

      June 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • CK1721

      The greedy lawyers are ALWAYS the villains...even when they are on the little guy's side. They are a waste of space and the reason that this country is in the state it is in.

      June 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr

      Hundreds of thousands of employees involved would not only affect Wal-Mart if won but would give others ideas to bring discrimination suits against other companies and then you would see businesses go under and you would see an economy that you NEVER want to see..................better they get paid a little less at this time than to worsen an economy that is already in a downward spiral at this time............WAIT is better than DESTROY!

      June 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      CK, I just read the SCOTUS decision, I have to agree with the majority decision.
      There ARE differences in many of the claims, hence id does NOT belong in the realm of class action.
      The rule applied added rights not in existence, hence the application of the rule (23b) was incorrectly applied, as the statute involved stated that rights may NOT be added under that rule (it's a little more complicated, this is the goobered down version).
      Meanwhile, you disparage the fundamental rights guaranteed for every citizen of this land, blaming lawyers for a "problem" that does not exist, which essentially says, you prefer having NO rights for the populace and no representation in a court of law!

      June 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
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