Gender Bias

Wal-Mart Faces Class-Action Suit

Wal-Mart may soon become the target of the largest sexual-discrimination lawsuit in the country’s history: A U.S. court ruled Monday that the suit against the world’s largest retailer can move forward as a class-action case. The suit argues that female workers at the chain were paid less and granted fewer promotions than their male counterparts, and that Wal-Mart’s corporate structure fostered gender discrimination. Paul Secunda, an associate law professor at Marquette University Law School, dubbed the decision "a huge win for the plaintiffs, and a tremendous loss for Wal-Mart"—one that could amount to billions of dollars in liability, as it covers more than one million female employees. Despite Wal-Mart’s appeals, the class-action lawsuit may allow female employees of the superstore to make claims on paychecks since June 2001. The suit originated when Betty Dukes sued for gender discrimination in 2001 with six other plaintiffs seeking an undetermined amount in lost pay and other damages.