According to CNN, the Supreme Court is reviewing a Wal-Mart gender bias class action case, which could set the standard for how American companies promote and pay their female employees. In the Dukes vs. Wal-Mart case, female workers sued the retail giant for workplace discrimination. This is considered one of the most important cases in its kind which the justices have ever heard. The case faced an uphill battle, eventually ending up in the highest court of our land.
Betty Dukes claimed Wal-Mart has denied her equal opportunity employment, specifically with promotions due in large to the failure to fairly post job openings. Dukes’ complaint alleges systematic pattern of discrimination against female workers.
According to Forbes, an estimated 1.5 million female employees could have a claim against Wal-mart’s practices. Specifically the company’s practices and policies that resulted in lower wages and fewer promotions for female workers. The justices will decide sometime before summer whether or not the case can go forward as one massive class action lawsuit.
If the justices determine that the retailers centralized policies and practices could have results in less pay and fewer advancements for female employees, that would clear the way for all women to have a joint grievance. If the court decides that pay and promotion discrepancies resulted from local managers and affected individual store locations, that would leave each woman to fend on her own against the retail giant.
Either way, it is possible for Wal-Mart to face millions in legal fees and potentially a multi-billion dollar loss against a class action lawsuit.