- Supreme Court Rules on Wal-Mart Class Action
- November 8, 2012
- Law Firm: Breazeale Sachse Wilson L.L.P. - Baton Rouge Office
1.5 million women, consisting of current and former Wal-Mart employees, brought one of the largest class action cases against Wal-Mart for discrimination against women in pay, promotion and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart against class certification.
By claiming there was a pattern of discrimination across the country, the 1.5 million women tried to sue as one class action. The court ruled, however, that the plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate "significant proof" that their claims share strong commonality and that their claims could be resolved in one class-wide stroke.
The U.S. Supreme Court determined that the employees could not sue on a class action basis. In order to form a class action, there must be questions of fact or law common to the class. For example: the assertion of discriminatory bias on the part of the same supervisor. "That common contention, moreover, must be of such a nature that it is capable of class-wide resolution -- which means that determination of its truth or falsity will resolve an issue that is central to the validity of each one of the claims in one stroke." In this case, the High Court ruled that a class-wide determination was not possible and therefore a class action was inappropriate.