Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes

564 U.S. 338 Supreme Court 2011
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This case was the largest class-action lawsuit in U.S. history, with 1.8 million women employees suing Walmart for company policies resulting in lower pay and slower advancement for women than men in comparable positions. Despite the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the certification of the large group of women as a class on three occasions, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously the class could not be certified.

The decision relied on the idea that the approximately 1.5 million individual employment discrimination claims could not be decided all at once, as Justice Scalia penned, "without some glue holding together the alleged reasons for those decisions." The ruling weakened opportunities to hold corporations accountable for a range of worker’s rights violations.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the gender wage gap as of 2018 shows that women are paid just 82 cents for every $1 earned by men. This gap is wider for women of color. Nine years after the decision it was reported that "Walmart, Inc. will pay $20 million, stop using a pre-employment test, and furnish other relief to settle a companywide, sex-based hiring discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)."

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