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Supreme Court 5-4 for WalMart in gender pay class action suit

Written By: - Date published: 10:34 pm, June 22nd, 2011 - 12 comments
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This story from the Washington Post:

As many as 1.5 million current and former female workers could have been included in the class suing Wal-Mart, the world’s largest private employer, and the company faced the possibility of owing billions of dollars in back pay. But the court’s conservatives said the women had not proved they had suffered from a common policy of discrimination.

The case was the most important of the term for corporate interests, some of which face the same kind of class-action suits filed by female employees. More than 20 of the country’s largest companies filed a brief supporting Wal-Mart in the case.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the court’s liberals, who include the court’s two other female justices, said the women should have been given the chance to prove their case. Ginsburg said there was ample evidence that there were problems at Wal-Mart, where, when the suit was filed, women held 70 percent of the hourly jobs but made up only 33 percent of management employees. “The court, however, disqualifies the class at the starting gate,” she wrote in dissent.

What a surprise. Reagan-Bush judges Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Alito and Roberts voted for WalMart; Clinton-Obama judges Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan for the women. This one will be back, that’s for sure.

12 comments on “Supreme Court 5-4 for WalMart in gender pay class action suit”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    That’s what happens when political ideology takes over the courts and it’s something we need to be aware of to try and stop it happening here.

  2. Jay 2

    The Court’s decision isn’t undermining just women’s rights, but also rights for other people who may be wronged in the future by giant corporations. Also, isn’t the plaintiff supposed to have a right to the jury trial?! See more on the opinion: http://blog.wexlerwallace.com/?p=990

  3. Red Rosa 3

    End result in US, after 30 years of Reagan and ‘anti-government’ – banks too big to fail, corporations too big to sue.

    And the Tea Party want more of this?

  4. millsy 5

    Heaven forbid if Walmart set up in this country. We need their nasty labour practises (which go way beyond this lawsuit) like we need a hole in our heads.

  5. prism 6

    I have a book on the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton – Made in America My Story. The blurb which I have quoted enthuses about him and his style. Epitomises USA mythical thinking. the aspirational middle and upper class anyway as indicated by the New York Times Book Review quote “A sure-fire all-American success story.”
    “Meet a genuine American folk hero cut from the homespun cloth of America’s heartland: Sam Walton who parlayed a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. The undisputed merchant king of the late twentieth century, Sam never lost the common touch. Here, finally Sam Walton tells his extraordinary story in his own inimitable words. Genuinely modest, but always sure of his ambitions and achievements, Sam shares his thinking in a candid, straight from the shoulder style.
    In a story rich with anecdotes and the “rules of the road” of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism that Propelled him to lasso the American Dream.
    (I can’t provide any blogbites of the above rules and ‘heart’ without reading it again. Haven’t time at present.)

    That sounds like hero-worship to me. The American Dream is making it big and not worrying about your workers”‘ impoverishment from poor wages and conditions, they don’t deserve a dream. Note that he himself is said to have come from that background “a hardscrabble cotton town” and might be expected to wish to share his better opportunity with others, when he can, with regular rises to inflation, or beyond and bonuses based on profit each year, which would be a fair and practical way for such a business to remunerate its workers. Do they get these? I remember when he started he advised his management that they would be underpaid but they were building a great business, and when successful they would be well paid, if they stuck with him. But not the coal face workers apparently.

  6. Vicky32 7

    When I heard about this on the BBC World Service the other day, I thought “Well, no surprises there then!” 🙁

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