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. Lee Oates

    North America should avoid Walmart until they unionize and pay decent wages. The employees of every Walmart shoud go on strike until Unions are established. Walmart is undermining small business and destroying the middle-class. Essentually Walmarts are simply Chinese Trading posts and making the US and Canada dependent on Chinese Trade. It is time for the citizens of North America to stand up for themselves. Strike.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      Unions are for losers and bankrupt every company or government they touch.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • OP

      unfortunately, the only two supermarkets I have in my area are either WAL MART or PUBLIX.

      I rather pay a "bit" more at publix knowing they pay their employees slightly better. It's the lesser of two evils I suppose. And publix has fresh veggies and fruits without mold on them. I'd never touch a fruit or vegetable at wal mart.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Unions are evil. They use threats of violence and extortion to get what they want. They should be banned.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Unions underline everything wrong with this nation. They are out for nobody but themselves. They don't add one iota of value to products and services... and in fact detract from them. Every one of us pays nearly double for our movie tickets, or our butter, or a gallon of milk, or that scarf... all because of your unions. End unions now by abolishing the National Labor Relations Act.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • david w

      yea, cause unions are always good for business. lol

      June 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      If the employees of Walmart went on strike, Walmart would simply hire new workers. Their job skills can be learned in a matter of minutes. Where talking Walmart here...

      June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra is dumb

      Unions are a necessary evil. Corporations can't be trusts, govt can't be trusted. Why do think the world hates us. the CIA along with Chiquita banna company overthrew a democratically elected leader of guatemala FOR US BUSINESS INTERESTS.

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

      Don't talk about something you don't know about. I have worked for Walmart previously, before I went back to college, and we as employees were treated with great respect, received wages that were more than fair for what we did, had breaks at LEAST every two hours, as well as medical insurance for both me and my family. More than that, for those that want to make a career of it, they have a very simple and easy to get into management training program. And that's not even mentioning that ALL surplus profits at the end of the year are distributed evenly amongst the milions of employees, not to the owners. O, and stock options if your interested in that. The reason that they are the largest employer in the world is BECAUSE they treat their employees right.

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

    This lawsuit was about lawyer greed, nothing more.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Stopthemadness

      You are full of crap, My wife was a department manager in southern Florida for 5 years she maintained 3 departments. Other male managers who worked at the store less time than her and only managed one department made almost 3 dollars an hour more than her. While you talk out the side of your neck like you know something Wally world is famous for being a man's company who does not nor will not treat women fairly. This suit being halted because it is simply to large is a way of saying that Walmart is paying off judges. And cooperate America has screwed the citizens again. If thousands upon thousands of women are saying something to the same effect why is it to big? Why is it that the is valid proof this is happening and nothing is being done to remedy it? You need to sit back down and shut the hell up.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra is dumb

      My name speaks the ultimate truth

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

      None of the whiners on here have a clue what a class action even is, or who benefits from it: The lawyers.

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

      Hey madness, try and actually use an argument that makes sense. While most floor associates get paid an hourly rate, ALL Walmart Managers and higher get paid by salary. It's cool that you don't like the decision, but use truth to back up your arguments.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. OP

    Good job, let's cut down on the frivolous lawsuits!

    The only real lawsuits obviously should revolve around companies protecting the same patents again and again decade after decade **wink wink drug companies**.

    Women's rights? Who cares!! Talk about pointless lawsuits. Go earn your wages like every real men do. Stop bellyaching. **ends sarcasm**

    June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      The lawyers in the last "fat drug" case, phen phen, split $1 billion between themselves. The victims got a few thousand dollars. That's how ALL class action suits work.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. krow101

    Wall Street ... too large to fail...

    Common working class Americans ... too large to succeed.

    Thanks Supreme Court ... for once again siding with your rich, corporate buddies. What a surprise.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Maybe you should spend ten minutes figuring out what a class action suit is, how they work, how the lawyers are paid, what the victims receive and then have an opinion. This is a blow to greedy lawyers, not victims of discrimination.

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

    p\Palin for President rally tonight at Walmart. Free beany copter hats for everyone.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. YIPPY!

    Next time you go shopping at other stores like Target, KMart, Whole Foods, etc... all of their products are imported. The reason why many products are not produced in the USA is because Americans demand CHEAP FOOD but EMPLOYEES AKA UNION demand unrealistic pay and benefits. Each No wonder why big companies in the US, especially those who are unionized, are in BIG FINANCIAL DEBT... look at our entire federal and state governmental agencies, they are running in billions of dollars in debt because of unions. Unions are EVIL. EVIL... EVIL!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee Oates

      Union bashing only weakens the US middleclass. Show a bit of intelligence.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • PAUL S.

      There are no more victories for the little guy worker bee anymore...just corporate GREED...how much profit do you need...the fascist state of corporatism rears its ugly head once again...soonn the United States will become known as NORTHERN South America...what a sad , SAD commentary on this nation and the ever shrinking working class

      June 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • PAUL S.

      Man, did you buy the company talking point....its always da UNIONS...do you ever have an original thought of your own...or does Fox always tell you what to say...just wonderin?

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

      Unrealistically high wages? Yes, an auto plant worker should probably not make $50+ per hour for unskilled labor. However, the white collar employees were complicit in this as well. Their raises and benefits were tied to union wages and benefits, so there was no incentive to hold wages down if it meant you didn't get a raise either. However, I think that it not a valid discussion of someone making $15-20k/year. Should that person make even less so that you can have a $800 flat screen? There becomes a point where it is unrealistic to ask unskilled workers to figure out how to make ends meet when they can't even afford rent.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. smokin11

    HOW MUCH DID WALMART PAy the judge or judges to make this DECISION

    June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      I bet you ten dollars you don't even know what the word plaintiff means...but you have an opinion about a Supreme COurt case. America is great.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • david w

      walmart didnt pay the judges, you did you tax payer you.

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

      Nothing

      June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Eric P

    Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. Wal-Mart is very good at what they do in terms of distribution, but they are not, and will never be, a friend of the American worker. It insenses me beyond words that people shop there. Everyone talks about right and wrong, and support justice where there is injustice...yet all that apparently goes out the window when it comes to spending $0.99 at Wal-Mart for something that costs $1.12 at Target (or some other retailer). Either the plaintiffs in this case had THE WORST lawyers in history, or the Roberts Court is just a disgrace. I'm guessing the latter since they also ruled that corporations are private citizens for the purpose of campaigning for particular candidates.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      I don't think you really understand what the two supreme court decisions you referenced really said.

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

      Oh? Please enlighten me. They ruled corporations are, for the purpose of political activity, equal to private citizens. That actually happened.

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

      So many issues to even consider here... Ultimatly this comes down to free market. Wal-Mart is providing something that the American people want. Cheap products. If their behavior is something that you disapprove of, convince people not to go there. There's any number of reasons that this law suit may have not gone through. The shills in here screaming about Republican justices being paid off, are clearly not well versed in this lawsuit. If it had been dismissed as being frivolous, it would have basically prevented reworking of the lawsuit. The way the current lawsuit was dismissed allows it to be broken into different types of lawsuits where Wal-Mart can still be held liable, just not necessarily at the CEO level. I consider this a mixed judgement. Women should absolutely get the same pay as men, but creating a situation where 600K people are likely to lose their jobs is not exactly going to help anyone is it? Find a better solution. I believe that is what the Supreme Court is saying here. Litigation can't fix everything.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Zoey

    If you really want to entice change, lets choose a day like July 28 and NOBODY SHOP AT WALMART for that day. For a full 24-hours on July 28, let's not shop at WalMart. That oughta get their attention.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee Oates

      Sounds like a good idea to me.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      Okay, instead let's drive to 20 different stores to get the stuff we need and pay more for it and then that will really show them!! And maybe they will fire some of their employees too!

      June 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • david w

      good luck getting all the illegal immigrants to shop somewhere other than wally world. too many people would go without if walmart dissapeared. dont hate the business, hate the shoppers

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

    Score another one for big biz in the US as SCOTUS gives the big corps another avenue to $crew the US worker...

    June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joey

    To the ones wanting to move to CANADA, Bon Voyage and don't let the door hit you. The pockets of Corporate America?? are you kidding me, who creates jobs and a Tax base? is it Unions, Welfare Recipients, The Government or Businesses? Why not complain about the Unions and Obama's DOLR attempting to stop Boeing from creating 8,000 jobs? Oh I forgot, they have to be union jobs so we can keep the cycle of corruption going......

    June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      It's nice when a smart person posts on here. Nice, but rare.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      Thank you Sandra. It is because intelligent people are not COMMUNIST and not looking for a Welfare State. The Marxist approach is killing this economy and the foundation for a Strong America. Ronald Reagan is rolling in his grave, we thought we won against Communism to see it flourish in the US. How stupid are these people, if they hate Capitalism so much and like Marxism, why not move to Cuba and enjoy the potential and the opportunities that it provides? No wonder the world calls half of us DUMB AMERICANS.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee Oates

      I did and its a wonderful country. Its organized to serve the people not corporations. Canadians are light years ahead of the US, especially in medical services.

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

      @leeOates:
      Than you have stayed there!!!!!!!!

      June 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mark - Atlanta

    Oh my God! The conservative, mostly Republican appointed Supreme Court ruled in favor of the world's largest corporation?? I can't believe it!! I thought for sure that they would rule in favor of the women, all of whom were treated unjustly! Wow! I thought conservatives were on the side of "regular folks." That's what they tell us all. Fooled again!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      It was a unanimous decision. Perhaps the legal scholars on the Supreme Court are tired of the greed driven antics of the billionaire trial lawyers and their enormous class action suits? Most of them earn the lawyers 100s of millions and the victims ten bucks each.

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

    The Conservative position on this is that middle and lower class plaintiffs should not be allowed to sue the wealthy.
    However, the wealthy may file as many frivolous lawsuits against middle and lower class citizens as the please. That is one of the sacred rights of the wealthy.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      That's the dumbest thing I have ever seen posted on a forum here. And that's saying something. No one sues poor people.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. The Real Sarah Palin

    Only yokels like me shop at Walmart.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. SGT J

    Wow, the case was too big and therefore cannot move forward! This just shows how far reaching the Republican party is into the supreme court of the united states. Its a sad sad day and the only people that can change it is us. We are the ones that need to vote in better people to the congress, and then of course, into the judicial system.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Yeah, good luck with that. THe SCOTUS is appointed by the president at the time. Look at Uncle Thomas. He was appointed by Bush Sr, and he's still there – saying nothing.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Burton

      "how far reaching the Republican party is into the supreme court"...um the decision was unanimous...NOT partisan

      June 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • vr13

      It's not about too big but too broad. WallMart has also employed thousands of women who did well, raised in ranks and don't feel being discriminated. The decision says that you can't just include in the class every woman that has ever worked for company, sue on their behalf and demand compensation on the behalf of every woman. A class in a class action needs to be more specifically defined, identifying a class of defendents and a time frame. The plantif just went to aggressive and made the class too all-inclusive.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
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