30 March 2011

SCOTUS hears Wal-Mart sex discrimination case

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Wal-Mart vs. Dukes. This case, which Wikipedia calls "the largest civil rights class action suit in United States history", charges the retail giant with "discriminating against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

The Supremes will not be ruling on the discrimination issue itself. Instead, as the Washington Post explains, they will settle a technical issue. Specifically, they "will decide whether the small group of plaintiffs have satisfied federal class-action rules, allowing them to stand for co-workers nationwide who they say have suffered under common discriminatory practices. The class would include all women who have worked at Wal-Mart since December 1998."

This case will set an important precedent. Nan Aron, President the Alliance for Justice, explains:
"What makes this case so important for all Americans is not just the injustice done to hundreds of thousands of workers, it's the desire by Wal-Mart and the corporate powers supporting their case... to restrict the ability of the women harmed by these policies to band together as a class and fight a unified battle in court."
Will the women of Wal-Mart stand a chance in their pursuit of justice, now that we have three females sitting on the highest court in the land? Or will the conservative male majority again prevail in favor of corporate America running amok?

Stay tuned.

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