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Wal-Mart asks Supreme Court to end class action lawsuit

Wal-Mart asks Supreme Court
to end class action lawsuit

Wal-Mart has asked the
U.S. Supreme Court to block a mammoth class-action lawsuit encompassing as many
as 1.5 million former and current women employees that could cost the firm
billions of dollars in damages and go down in history as the largest
gender-discrimination case in the U.S.

Wal-Mart has filed a
motion with the Supreme Court appealing against a 6-5 lower court decision
allowing a class action sex discrimination lawsuit to proceed that could
encompass as many as 1.5 m former and current women employees. The lawsuit
alleges the Wal-Mart systematically paid women less money than men for doing
the same jobs and promoted men to higher positions at a faster rate. If
Wal-Mart is found guilty, compensation payouts could be worth billions of
dollars as it includes any woman worker employed since 1998.

The San
Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who had allowed the class
action to proceed did so on the basis that it was better than “clogging the
federal courts” with individual suits. Wal-Mart, however, argues that a
potential 1.5-million-member class-action suit is too big to give it a
realistic shot at self-defense. Wal-Mart supports it argument by highlighting
that the potential number of people covered by the class action suit is larger
than the active-duty personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast
Guard combined –making it the largest employment class action in history by
several orders of magnitude. A decision by the justices on whether to take up
the case is not likely until next year.

September 2010

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