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. Ted

    women's should be in the home darnin socks and fixin meals for the men folk. that be the truth...uh huh! barefoot and pregnecated. thats the ticket. uh Huh.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • JDT

      better yet... let me stay at home and do that stuff and the "missus" can go to work...

      June 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • SamSkwirl

      I know right... First they want to own land, then they want to vote.... whats next. A lawsuit against men because women want to be born with a penis too now? Get real!

      June 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ben

    So lemme see if I got the gist of this....
    The courts ruled that too many people got discriminated against so the entire case should be tossed.
    Wow.
    So if you break the law in the US, do it against as many people as you can, then the chances of justice occuring becomes slim.
    Seeing a definite pattern here....*ahem....banks.....

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • TinKnight

      "When you kill one person, it is a tragedy...when you kill one million, it is a statistic."

      It's basically the same thing here...it's too difficult for the legal system to get its collective head around an untold number of employees in 10,000+ locations around the country. That's the problem with allowing a single company to grow so large...but that's not something the current legal system can prevent.
      I think it's the right call, even if it's a crappy one.

      But it's not like Wal-Mart is completely free to continue on their ways...the claimants can refile under individual cases, or in smaller class-action suits based on regions/districts, which actually will take up more of Wal-Mart's time and resources.

      June 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • SamSkwirl

      Well, there are Women on the Supreme Court. And we all know that women are NOT wrong so I am happy with their judgement.

      June 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Jones

      @SamSkwirl

      Careful making blanket statements like that. I can tell you MANY instances where women have been in the wrong.
      Just because you're (I mean a general "you", not a specific one) female doesn't make you right. That's the height of gender discrimination.

      Making statements like you just did in real life will often get your teeth knocked out.

      You're clearly not very bright, I'm just trying to give you helpful advice.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    Mike, the conspiracy theory forum is that way ->

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. MikeyD74

    well, wal-mart can afford the payoffs to the SC justices.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • denver co

      Just because the ruling didn't go like you thought it should??? Please...

      June 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. Robert

    SCOTUS rules on the side of capitalism and freedom and against the mindless overweight female drones working for Walmart. Swoon!

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Puolpi

    Why do we even bother having a Supreme Court?

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      It's for show.

      June 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reverend Dr. Yvonne Kaye

      Good point. I thought that when they decided to let corporations donate as much money as they wanted to to elect their favoured politicians. Good we can vent as nothing will change. Look at the mess the country is in now and most of it is one party blaming the other. And the beat goes on!!!!

      June 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Jones

      @ Rev. Kaye

      I agree with you, this whole battle between liberals and conservatives, democrats vs. republicans is just outright dumb.
      When you fight amongst yourselves, nothing will ever get done.

      You americans have only one party to blame for that, yourselves.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kenyon

    The good thing is they can always refile. This is not over, the lawyers of this class action suit need to be very creative when they refile this suit.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Millions of refiled individual lawsuits. Think of all the jobs that will be created by all the new lawsuits. The SCOTUS is creating a whole lot of new jobs...

      June 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ross Ballard

    An extreme right, conservative court once again rules in favor of a large Chinese corporation. I'm sorry, but how is that news? Everyone watching this case knew it would be a victory for Republicans.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve Carrell

      Right wing conservative? The ruling was unanimous.

      June 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      What a partisan moron you are, Ross Ballard! Did you even bother to do any reading before you wrote your fanatical comments? The ruling was 9-0 in favor of Wal-Mart. Nothing at all to do with "right wing" justices or whatever crazy accusation you made. This was strictly a decision about a point of law, not a decision about the merits of the case. Your crazy partisan ramblings are what make moderates like me despise you radical left wingers as much as the radical right wingers.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Ah C'mon already

      Actually it was 5-4, Steve. Right down the ideological lines of the court.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert Hill

    OK, is there a legal precedent for the Supreme Court burying their heads in the sand? They refuse to hear the case because it's TOO BIG? What is a Supreme Court FOR, then? I'm shocked.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cognos

    Did commoners really think they can take down a giant? This whole David can beat Goliath thing no longer exists, and especially when you are dealing with a Chinese corporation.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bryan

    So, the only reason they ruled the way they did was because of the number of people it affected? They didn't care if these people were truly wronged, but just that it would have been a hassle. Nice. Gotta love our country

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    So the Supremes have now officially said "If you are large enough you are above the law".

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron Jeremy

      Sweet, then I am not only above the law, but I AM the law!

      June 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kiri

    So if you mess up in a big way you can get away with it? The case is "too large" for the United States Supreme Court. Sad commentary.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Jones

      The word I'd elect to use would be "pathetic".

      June 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott

    Is this all the information CNN has to report? No vote-count on the verdict, rationale or statement from the court, analysis on reasoning, anything?

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dustan

      all the info you need: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/wal-mart-v-dukes?wpmp_switcher=desktop

      June 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      The opinion is freely available for all to read on the Supreme Court website, or at least freely available to everyone who CAN read, which might disqualify a few people who have posted here lately. Reading the opinion reveals that the decision was 9-0 in favor of Wal-Mart. In any event, this was just a decision on a technical point of law, not on the merits of the case. In stead of one huge unwieldy lawsuit with possibly tens of thousands of plaintiffs, they will probably be split into smaller (but still sizeable) groups based on geography or years of employment with Wal-Mart.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ted

    smatter....no body got anythin ta say....?

    June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
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