The arguments being heard by the Supreme Court today in Dukes vs. Wal-Mart are about whether there is enough of a connection between 1.5 million workers to validate their discrimination as a class-action suit. But this is not just the largest class-action suit ever, it is also the largest gender discrimination case in history. The plaintiffs are arguing that the world’s largest corporation maintained paid women less money, denied them promotions, and perpetuated a culture rife with gender stereotyping. And it will be heard by a Supreme Court with three female Justices — the most ever in history. Will their decision come down to gender vs. business?
In December 2010, Wal-Mart delivered the following statement:
We are pleased that the Supreme Court has granted review in this important case. The current confusion in class action law is harmful for everyone – employers, employees, businesses of all types and sizes, and the civil justice system. These are exceedingly important issues that reach far beyond this particular case. We look forward to the Court’s consideration of the appeal.
Barbara Perry, professor of government at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs takes a closer look at the case.