National: Supreme Court limits Wal-Mart discrimination case

Jun 20, 2011

The Supreme Court blocked a massive lawsuit charging Wal-Mart with sexual discrimination today according to the Associated Press.

From the AP:

The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a massive sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart on behalf of female employees in a decision that makes it harder to mount large-scale bias claims against the biggest U.S. companies.

The justices all agreed that the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot proceed as a class action in its current form, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. But they split 5-4 along ideological lines over whether the plaintiffs should in essence get another chance to make their case.

The lawsuit could have involved up to 1.6 million women, with Wal-Mart facing potentially billions of dollars in damages.

Now, the handful of women who brought the case may pursue their claims on their own, with much less money at stake and less pressure on Wal-Mart to settle.

The ruling could make it much harder to mount similar class-action discrimination lawsuits against large employers.