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Wal-Mart Must Face Dukes Gender Discrimination Lawsuit in California
By Kimberly Mirando
Despite winning a victory last year from the U.S. Supreme Court that denied certification to a nationwide class of female employees, Wal-Mart can’t shake the gender discrimination class action lawsuit known as Dukes v. Wal-Mart.
A federal court has denied Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss a narrowed state class action lawsuit seeking to represent female employees in California that's still spearheaded by the original lead Plaintiff, Betty Dukes.
The original Dukes v. Wal-Mart class action lawsuit was filed in 2001 on behalf of a nationwide class of female employees who alleged they received less pay and fewer promotion because of their gender. The women obtained class action status, covering more than one million Wal-Mart employees nationwide, but the ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2011. The high court ruled the women did not have enough in common to proceed as a group because the Plaintiffs hadn’t established evidence that Wal-Mart discriminated at all of its operations.
Following the ruling, several employees regrouped to form smaller regional class action lawsuits, including Dukes in California and gender discrimination lawsuits in Florida, Texas and Tennessee.
Wal-Mart argued that the number of Plaintiffs in the new California gender discrimination class action lawsuit was still too high and did not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. However, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer rejected the argument, saying the Plaintiffs could continue the lawsuit since they reduced its size to between one and several hundred thousand workers.
The Plaintiffs are seeking to represent a proposed class of more than 100,000 current and former female employees of California Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores who were allegedly subject to pay and promotion discrimination at any time since December 26, 1998.
Breyer did not certify the class action lawsuit, but said it could be certified if Plaintiffs can prove that Wal-Mart had engaged in gender discrimination across California.
A new hearing on the class action status of the Dukes case is set for February 15, 2013.
The case is Betty Dukes, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. C-01-2252-CRB, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
Updated October 8th, 2012
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