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. Marylyn

    Nothing will change unless EVERYONE boycotts China....I mean Walmart.hahaha.Safety in numbers.Are the American people up for this challenge???

    June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      Really? Did you know our governmnet just signed a deal to have China supply some of the electronics for our weapons? I am thinking someone got kickbacks in this deal.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. KC

    This is big business owning everyone–including the Supremes. If it is broken down into bite sized pieces would that be more acceptable for the Court? Where is the justice here???

    June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • ztank

      Its because the individual cases have merit, but wont generate enough cash to pay the lawyers to prosecute it. Therefore, the lawyers are trying to group them all together. I'm not sure what side I'm on in this one honestly.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. seriously226

    MSN has a much more detailed article that actually gives the reason why the Justice's believe the suit is too large. "The court cited two reasons for its decision. It was unanimous in saying that the women brought the wrong kind of class action, improperly mixing questions that can be decided in a class action, such as whether to order the company to stop discrimination, with issues that must be decided for each individual, such as how much back pay to award.
    The court ruled 5-4 that the women failed to show that there's some glue to hold all these cases together, a demonstration that there's a common source of each case of discrimination."

    CNN needs to add more facts to this article.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Facts get in the way of the liberal bias.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • KC

      ...and the Law Firms that brought the suit are to blame here. They should know the ins and outs of the justice system and what is the proper procedure in class action law suits..

      June 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • TheDuke570

      First off, I don't see how it gets to the Supreme Court without someone arguing whether the class action is structured correctly. Really, is it a case of wasting people's time? If it were structured poorly wouldn't a lower court have thrown it out?
      Secondly, if a silent unwritten policy against women existed company-wide then it is, in fact, company policy, right?

      June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. fearlessdude

    American Justice in action: It is all about winning a case, never mind justice or finding the truth.
    How do you explain close votes of 5:4 in the Supreme Court?

    June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      This was unanimous.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. FrankJ

    "Too big to fail" has been joined by "too big to be held accountable" thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court. What a terrible precedent.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |

    Please all you people sound like morons, these woman should be happy they even have jobs. With the way things are there is no work/jobs, I dont like wal-mart and all there cheap junk, but for the most part people that work there are over paid, just try talking to one of them there morons, cant put a sentence togather.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      You call the women workers of Wal-Mart morons? Yet, your post is full of misspellings and improper grammar, just shows who the real moron is.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Stein

    So it's OK to cheat people? Just make sure you cheat enough people at once so the Court will say it's too big a case.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. John Xargon

    This certification did not fail because Walmart was "too big", it failed because the class lacked similarity. Don't let facts get in the way of rants though.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. TheDuke570

    From what I understand, the Supreme Court threw this out because there was no single written corporate policy towards discrimination that the prosecution coult point out. First off, what criminal writes down criminal activity? Especially in a corporate policy handbook?!? Secondly, doesn't a de facto state of discrimination company-wide infer a conspiracy and/or an unwritten corporate policy towards discrimination???
    Welcome to the United States of America, now under new management; corporate fat cats.
    Welcome to the plutocracy!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. AR

    If you are not part of the top 5% of the wealthy in this country, you should be getting very frightened right about now.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. theotormon

    Gee, thanks for the in-depth report CNN.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Duane

    I can't believe the SCOTUS ruling went above the law. Let's get real here folks.. It's against the law for Walmart or any company to discriminate women. The SCOTUS was wrong in rejecting their lawsuit against Walmart. This is the worst, most outrageous decision I have ever seen. This is telling us that the Federal Government is corrupted. What a scandal and shame!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. thegadfly

    I wonder what it's like to rise to the very top of the legal profession (Supreme Court justice), and yet to know that you are unworthy of being addressed as "Your Honor". It must be very stressful.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      People who do not know a single thing about the law should limit their posts to monster truck rallies and defrauding social security.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sid Airfoil

    The crux of the decision as I read the actual opinion is...

    1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees cannot claim to be a "class" for the purpose of suing the company via a class-action suit because A) EACH employee might not have suffered the SAME harm (if any) as all the rest, and B) EACH employee might require a distinct resolution or set of compensation depending on the exact nature of their particular situation. To be considered a "class" these criteria must be the same for ALL members of the class. Otherwise, it cannot be adjudicated clearly.

    This ruling DOES NOT say that women cannot sue Wal-Mart for discrimination. It merely says that they cannot ALL sue Wal-Mart at once as if they had ALL been harmed in exactly the same way and deserve exactly the same judicial remedy. The class is too big and diverse to be a "class".


    June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. admonition

    I cant believe some lawyer actually attempted this!?! was it done on a benchmark or an earmark claiming to be looking out for the public. cause that's how the CIA RMS psychic visual demonocracy funded the communications scientists that promoted the school shootings and the mass murder's that have been sweeping the nation, that's the entire atrocity. I read an article that the entire squabble was about walmart assigning men heavy jobs that women had excessive injuries from cause their too frail and the women took offense to it. what kind of discrimination lawyer would take something like that up? one who discriminates against who is stopping the injuries from occurring.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Lawyers attempted this because they hoped to split a few billion dollars while the so-called victims got ten bucks each.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
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