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. Greenspam

    This huge class action lawsuit will just make some lawyers very rich. Supreme court is right. It's on the burden on the plaintiff to PROVE that the alledged discrimination is all related and is a pattern across ALL locations. To give an example, let's say one employee at 1 store fell, now another employee at another store fell. Does that mean there can be a class action lawsuit to represent all employees who fell? What if the first employee fell because he was dizzy from a flu, but second employee fell because of wet floor? Clearly, you CANNOT have a simple class action lawsuit without analyzing the reason employees fell. Same thing here.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rakesh

    This report twists the true reasoning. (I never thought this class-action suit should move forward anyways)

    You can read the real thing if you want:

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Big_D

    They better hope these women don't exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. POD did they say what the right size of any class action lawsuit against multi-national corpotations should be? Or is that going to be dealt with on a case by case basis and kept a corporate secret?

    June 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. sam

    I have never seen a wal- mart employee sincerely working..may be a few.
    The rest are useless just walking there ...ask them something !!
    many should be fired let alone union.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. TRouble

    Carrie Lukas, managing director:

    This is good news for anyone concerned about our economy and joblessness. When companies spend their time defending themselves against lawsuits, they have less money to focus on hiring workers and expanding their businesses.

    Discrimination is illegal, and employees who are treated unfairly should have their day in court, but companies also have to have the ability to defend themselves. Lumping together the experiences of 1.5 million employees spread throughout the country in different positions and with different bosses doesn't advance justice.

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

      so basically what your saying to heck with the rights of the american tax payer, lets discriminate against them all?

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

      No Jane. What is bing said is to examine each discrimination case not by the 100's of thousands at once. To let everyone have their day in court – not for everyone to sign one by the 100's of thousand to a single case with no way possible in a single case to actually determine on an employee or local store level if there was actually discrimination.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • kristy a lamm

      Okay so let's assume that your reasoning is correct, What is so wrong with letting a jury decide what is too big, too disparate or just without merit? The problem is that the American public has lost faith in our once respected justice system – this distrust was not caused by jury trials but because of "judicial review". The judges used their unbelievable power to block the case from being decided on the merits by regular citizens. Is this a government "of the people" or "of the lawyers and judges"?

      June 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. caesar

    Congradulations walmart your the biggest of all corporation gangsters

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Brian Magee

    Some corporations are now not only too big to fail, but too big to sue. There is no longer any pretense that this country is "for the people." The U.S. is dead as a beacon of anything good.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kerry

    So they break it down into smaller lawsuits and continue their fight........

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jane Doe

    stating it was "too large"? Since when does ANYone have the right to decide how large a group of defendants can be? Perfect example of how this is a Corporate Run America.. By the corporations, FOR the corporations.

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

    I never shopped at Walmart anyway. And I never will. I would never support on huge company like this because of the deep pockets they have, can do or get away with just about anything. Probably even murder. I would rather support a small family business if I can where people appreciate you business and watch out for the customer. So If you shop at Walmart or have friends that do, stop and it and you stop them, period.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tamara

    Nice...reject a discrimination suit because too many were discriminated against. That's justice for you! Who wants to bet the Supreme Justices were paid off?

    Go America!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jane Doe

      I couldnt agree with you more. Corporate America: run BY the corporations, FOR the corporations. Walmart went down hill when SW died and his greedy family took it over.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    To all you people that gripe about Walmart- if you don't like them then Don't shop there and don't work there. The supreme court was correct on this ruling. Funny thing is, all the people that want the handouts also want the cheap prices and those that gripe will likely be back shopping there.

    Why don't you go start up your own business and see how easy it is?!?!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jane Doe

      so forget the fact that they may have been discriminated against (which may I remind you is AGAINST the law), lets just tell them they cant have the rights this country was founded on. Lets just change all the rules. Lets kick you out of your job, and give it to someone who will take less money and do more work.

      Let me guess, you think illegals should stay here too right? lol

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

    You may find it hard to believe, but ultimately Wal Mart and corporate America are the big losers here. The problem with this economy is that it has shifted to much to the supply side. Sure, the stores are all full of cheep goods. But people don't have a lot of money to go in and buy a lot of stuff. Supply is out of balance with demand. Rising wages actually help businesses. Henry Ford knew that when he raised his workers pay from $.50 to $5 a day. It created a huge middle-class that could afford to buy a lot of cars and other things.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jane Doe

      its not hard to believe...its impossible. The prices in walmart are not cheap (anymore). WHen Sam was still alive that company was run right. Since his greedy family took over, that is when all this started. FYI supply will ALWAYS be out of balance with And how do you figure that rising wages help a company? You do realize that paying your employees more cost you more right? Why do you think the minimum wage is so LOW? Idiot.

      its also spelled "cheap" not "cheep". Here is a product for you to try out "Spell Check". its not only cheap but its free.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mikey

    Typical since the supreme court is more conservative and the GOP hates women anyway so why would they pass this when the big corporations would have to pay them a fair wage. Keep voting these right wingers in and they will do a fine job of keeping the middle class down while the corporate world thrives..

    June 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • db

      What does that have to do with GOP? Grow up and start thinking for yourself instead of being a stupid parrot that pays no taxes and lives off your parents.

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

      Seriously? Where was that in the story! Where do you get that the GOP hates women?

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

      The lawsuit is ridiculous. The are trying to say the every woman in the Wal-Mart franchise has been discriminated against because of this one women, Dukes.

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

      Sarah Palin...

      June 20, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      I love comments like this...right wing this and republican that...completely ignoring the fact that President Obama is one of the largest recipients of Wall Street money and his cabinet is filled with high wealth wall street shmucks from Goldman Sachs and the like. Mikey, please try and break your blind adherence to media propaganda, particularly that from the left wing.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      Actually, the judge did the people who brought this suit a favor. Certain management levels at Walmart were well represented by woman. The case would have included all levels and the people who brought the suit would have lost because Walmart would have been able to prove that woman advanced at a higher percentage than men (at certain levels).

      June 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
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