On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a class-action lawsuit by 1.5 million former and current female Walmart employees. But why did the Justices refuse to hear the largest sex discrimination case in American history?
According to TIME, the Supreme Court split 5-4 — along the usual conservative/liberal party lines — on whether the case of Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. met class-action standards. According to Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion, the lawsuit failed to show any “commonality” among the plaintiffs besides their “sex and this lawsuit.” (All three female Justices dissented.)
The suit, which became class-action back in 2004, cites figures from 2001. Among their chief complaints were that women workers filled 70% of the hourly positions at Walmart but just 33% of the managerial positions, all in a reportedly insensitive company culture. The Associated Press writes that since 2004, things at Walmart have changed, with the corporation creating special mentoring and training programs geared towards women.
To clarify, the Supreme Court didn’t actually rule on whether Walmart actually discriminated against women. However, by dismissing the lawsuit, the Court makes it more difficult for employees to file class-action suits successfully. As for the women involved, they can still sue Walmart, but in smaller numbers or on an individual-basis, which is likely to hamper their efforts.
What do you Lovelies think about the controversy? Do you think the Court should’ve heard the case?