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. kathy

    I worked at Walmart a few years ago and it always seemed like the ladies got the crap hours, regardless of how long they worked there whereas the male employees who were new hires got the best hours. They also did most of the lighter work while the ladies did most of the heavier work...truck, stock, high ladder stuff. This sucks because it shows wallyworld that they can treat people differently and the highest court in the land says they can.

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

      I work at my local Wal Mart in NC Indiana and don't find that to be true at our store. In fact they are friendly, supportive, share the workload from store manager on down throughout the store. And there are almost an equal number of male to female emplyees except in management where the females out number the males. In fact its a better environment at WM than the mega corp I work at full time.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Jim is correct.

      That is the whole point of the argument. This might have been a very isolated incident and did not reflect on corporate policies that pushed gender discrimination.

      People, instead of expressing a personal opinion about this case, why don't each and every one of you read the merits of the case from the source:

      http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/10-277.pdf

      June 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Myrmidon

      Interesting, I was seeing the exact opposite.Females took more hours off, got maternity time, more flexible hours for child care and didn't do the heavy lifting. Maybe we should swap locations...?

      June 20, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nick

    What?!? The case was thrown out simply because the crime involved too many people? Would this judge let Hitler go with the same reasoning? Unbelievable. This day in Screw the Worker Some More.

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

      Whenever someone drags Hitler into an argument that doesn't involve killing more than 6 million people it makes me want to vomit. Get some class.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • cole

      why do you libtards always bring in hitler? seriously, you need to start actually finding and argument. your name calling is old and weak.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      This is why I hate the media's inept reporting. The case simply cannot go forward with this large of a class, it will undoubtedly go forward but will have to be broken up into smaller lawsuits. This is a blow in many ways because the class action system is designed to "balance" the complainant in line with a larger corporate defendant. Therefore the smaller suits will have less of an impact on Walmart, that is why it is disapointing. It is not a surprise however, b/c it would have been the largest ever class action suit.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Nick,

      Why don't you read the opinion because that is not what they said.

      http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/10-277.pdf

      June 20, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      First off, its not a crime, this wasnt a criminal court case.
      Second, big business is not the only or primary source of jobs, so kissings walmarts ass is NOT required for the good of the economy.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. megaChristie

    "Look, we REALLY want to help, It's just that there are SO MANY of you, it's going to be REALLY hard. So...BYE"

    ...oh beautiful for spacious skies...

    June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. S.D.

    Doesn't the fact that it's "too large" indicate that this was a very BIG and WIDESPREAD crime??? And therefore it is even more important that WalMart be held accountable??

    June 20, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • PatrickB

      Yea you would think so! So much for that "justice for all" thing.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. GT66

    I support this decision. Feminists are going too far in their campaign. Perhaps they need to put limits on their philosophy that all women are victims simply by virtue of their existence.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      You have quite obviously never worked at walmart or know anyone who has.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicki

      Luckily the decision has absolutely nothing to do with "feminism". It has to do with a class size being too large. Don't worry the suits will come to Walmart, it just won't be one giant one.

      June 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. truth2power

    Way to go Supreme Court, standin' up for all of the woman in America like that.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim Bob

    Republican court. You expected anything different?

    June 20, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mikell

    Voices of reason, don't waste your breath. CNN helps facilitate ignorance by reporting this way. You know most of these people only see "Supreme Court rules case too big to hear".

    June 20, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • TheWalrus67

      You're right, Mikell. There is no analysis her whatsoever. No explanation of why or how the decision was made. Guess it was too complicated for their walnut-sized brains.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sam

    This goes to show that it's all about the supreme court. When FDR wanted to push through the New Deal and the National Labor Relations Act, he had to add justices to the Supreme Court bench to overcome a conservative bias. Obama has not done this, and the current court is more right wing than it's ever been.

    Anyway, this is bad news. It means that the more employees a company harms, the more insulated it is from litigation. The size and scope of the lawsuit reflected the size and scope of the issue. If all of these women are bound by a single unifying negative experience, how can their lawyers possibly chop them up into groups in so as not to satisfy the supreme court's new criteria of "too big?" This is just another give away to industry. And those of you who argue that it is the fault of liberals for America's declining employment and manufacturing situation, please note that this decline has gone hand in hand with a slew of conservative supreme court decisions over the last few decades.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. Paul in VA

    I am impressed the Supreme Court got it right for a change. This was not a legitimate basis for a class action lawsuit. The ONLY way it would be legit would be if there was direction from the home office on who to hire/promote/fire without regard to the local manager's input.
    From personal experience I know that this is not the case.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. DJ

    What they should say is that the Walton's are much to powerful and can backdoor the court lots of money!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. 25 cents

    unbelievabale...I'm speechless. This would have been a great win for the Dukes and others

    June 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. deandake

    One of many reasons I stopped shopping there over a decade ago. There might be a lot of outrage over Wal-Marts practices but they are still our largest retailer. As long as people still shop there nothing will change. It's a shame. Too big to litigate? What a silly notion. So much for justice. It is sounding more and more like our Supreme Court has become ineffectual.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ben

    Corporations have complete control of our government, it is therefor no surprise that the Supreme Court would choose a heartless corporation over humanity.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. david burns

    Now we have another term for the American lexicon – "Too big to sue"

    June 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul in VA

      Nowhere did they say the company was too big to sue. They said, quite accurately, that the lawsuit didn't merit class action status.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      Funny I thought the same thing. @Paul in VA, yes they did say that "saying sweeping class-action status that could potentially involve hundreds of thousands of current and former female workers was simply too large" For God sakes read man.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul in VA

      I can read just fine. They are saying the class action status would be too large, with too many different perceived causes of discrimination. Might want to read up on what defines a class action lawsuit.
      Basically the Supreme Court said the lawyers failed to show there was a home office link to the various claims. For a class action suit vs walmart, they needed to prove (or at least show some sort of support of) the claim the home office systematically approved and directed the discrimination.

      June 20, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35