Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Dukes v. WalMart Class Action Case

Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., an ongoing sexual discrimination lawsuit, is the largest civil rights class action suit in United States history. It charges Wal-Mart with discriminating against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The case started in 2000, when a 54-year-old Wal-Mart worker in California named Betty Dukes filed a sex discrimination claim against her employer. Dukes claims that, despite six years of hard work and excellent performance reviews, she was denied the training she needed to advance to a higher, salaried position. Wal-Mart's position is that Dukes clashed with a female Wal-Mart supervisor and was disciplined for admittedly returning late from lunch breaks.

In June 2001, the lawsuit began in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The plaintiffs seek to represent 1.6 million women, including all those who work or have previously worked in a Wal-Mart store since December 26, 1998.  In June 2004, the federal district judge, Martin Jenkins, ruled in favor of class certification under FRCP 23(b)(2). The Ninth Circuit affirmed the class certification.  Wal-Mart appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. 

Yesterday, the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in the case. 


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Prediction:  Close call but I'm going to predict a victory for Wal-Mart on this one.