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2004-08-14
San Francisco, CA. Federal Judge Allows Wal-Mart To Appeal Sex Discrimination Class Action Case.

This week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California, agreed to review a trial judge's decision in June that allowed female workers at Wal-Mart to pursue their sexual discrimination case as one class action lawsuit. The case potentially involves as many as 1.6 million current or former Wal-Mart workers. The class action status is a financial threat to Wal-Mart, because any settlement the company makes is magnified by the size of the plaintiff class. The women workers claim that Wal-Mart discriminated against them based on gender, paying them less than men in similar positions, and offering them fewer promotions. The so-called "Dukes" lawsuit is the largest civil-rights class action ever certified against a private employer. When the judge ruled that a class action lawsuit could proceed, it was completely predictable that Wal-Mart would appeal, because if the case proceeeds, the case could cost Wal-Mart well over $1 billion. Wal-Mart has argued that the class size is "unprecedented, un-manageable and unconstitutional." In testimony submitted to the court by the plaintiff's lawyers, the discrepancy between men and women's average salary of the largest hourly jobs at Wal-Mart in 2001 were revealed: Male Department heads earned $11.13 per hour, women $10.62; Male Sales Associates earned $8.73 per hour, women $8.27; Male cashiers earned $8.33 an hour, women $8.05. The average of all hourly employees was $9.55 for men, $9.26 for women. A female cashier at Wal-Mart in 2001 working "full-time" (34 hours per week) earned $14,287 in 2001, just about poverty level for a mother with two children.

What you can do: For more background on the class action lawsuit go to www.walmartclass.com. For earlier stories on this case, search this database by "class action."










 
 
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