Last June the Supreme Court handed Wal-Mart a victory when it dismissed the historic class action gender discrimination lawsuit Dukes v. Wal-Mart on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked a “common question of law or fact” to bind their allegations that Wal-Mart systematically discriminated against women in pay and hiring decisions. The decision was seen as a setback not just for the women of Wal-Mart, but for civil rights litigants battling pernicious, diffuse discrimination instead of the easier to prove overt discrimination.
After the 5-4 decision the plaintiffs vowed they would be back. And they are. Last week plaintiffs filed an amended lawsuit that narrows the class from all of the women who work or have worked at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs stores to those in the retailer’s California regions–taking the class from an estimated 1.5 million to 90,000 women.
Plaintiffs will likely file several more lawsuits coming as they are forced to litigate groups of cases against Wal-Mart as a result of the Dukes decision.
The decision last summer never reached the merits of plaintiffs’ claims, so the issue of whether or not the world’s largest retailer routinely discriminated against women remains an open one. For the past thirteen years Wal-Mart has tried to get the case thrown out on procedural grounds, but the plaintiffs refuse to go away. Justice is still a ways off for these women, but kudos to them for not backing down.
Photo from monochrome via flickr.