The recent class-action lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart by six women alleging that the company discriminates against females in compensation and promotions has opened an interesting debate. Because the suit includes 1.5 million current and former female employees, can a lawsuit of this size and scope be valid?
The U.S. Supreme Court said recently that they will review a federal appeals court decision that allows the single suit to cover all women who worked at the stores since 2001.
It is the largest employment class action lawsuit in U.S. history, and the court’s decision could have an effect on several pending cases with similar allegations of poor employee management.
An important outcome for HR professionals to watch for is whether the court certifies this as a “class-action” suit. A class-action suit would put enormous amounts of pressure on Wal-Mart to settle and the company could end up paying out billions of dollars. A ruling in favor of the employees will also set a new precedent for expansive suits against businesses in the future.
The Supreme Court will hear the case in the spring, do you think Wal-Mart will settle?