Wal-Mart v. Dukes handed down
June 20, 2011 3 Comments
In a decision that was not at all surprising, the United States Supreme Court sided with Wal-Mart in a massive employment discrimination class action. Exactly how massive? The plaintiffs estimated the class at around 1.6 million people.
So what is the take away? In order to prevail, company wide class actions should be based on a company wide policy of discrimination. That wasn’t present here. The claims of 1.6 million plaintiffs were not typical of one another due to differing stores, salaries, managers, jobs, etc. About the only thing they had in common was the fact that they were women and they claim to have been discriminated against in various ways. That just wont cut it.
Expect to see the proposed class from Dukes being split into dozens, if not hundreds of specific sub-classes. Even then, there are no guarantees because Court hasn’t been favorable to class actions or any sort for many years.