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Attonerys among us: What does this mean? - Walmart


MamaJunebug

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Walmart has better lawyers?? That's probably what it comes down too...."better" in terms of deeper pockets....

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I am not sure. I didn't watch it myself, but I read in a couple places about one of the main women complaining (I guess about being passed up for promotions for simply being a woman)... they said it was obvious why she wasn't being promoted, and it had nothing to do with gender.

But that's just some hearsay... I didn't find the video (but didn't look either) so take it with a grain of salt. :-D

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It just means that the size of the class was too large. They didn't demonstrate that the company acted in such a way to include a class of basically every single employee.

Gah, I hate to sound like this, but I think that I agree with the court. And I am not a Walmart fan and I do think there is a pattern of gender discrimination. But I don't think it is company policy but rather the outcome of other company policies. I am not sure that the plaintaiffs can argue a class that is so large.

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Today's court ruling for Walmart in the gender discrimination case.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/06/20/sc ... index.html

What does it mean for the rights of women? If anything? :?:

Not to sound like Ben Botkin, but thanks in advance for your replies.

The quick and dirty version as I understand things is that the women were denied class-action status based on their class having too many variables, so they can't file one huge suit against Wal-Mart. However, individual plaintiffs can still sue the store and from what I've read (and I am by no means a scholar on this) women aggrieved by a particular store or manager may even band together to sue that particular store or manager.

Re: rights of women - If you're a woman trying to win a gender discrimination suit, it's a pretty darn uphill battle anyway. This makes it even more expensive/frustrating for plaintiffs because they can't band together in a class action. Also, not to sound too cynical, but because it's hard to win a discrimination case anyway (and gender gets lesser protection than race under the law, btw), many women will put up with a lot of garbage in the workplace and just suck it up. Also, in the professions, many women are afraid to sue because they fear other employers will not want to hire them.

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Guest Anonymous
Walmart has better lawyers?? That's probably what it comes down too...."better" in terms of deeper pockets....

To me, it means the fix is in,

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I'm no lawyer, but a friend of mine who's in law school explained it to me.

Basically, the people responsible for organizing this lawsuit went around and pulled every single female Wal-Mart worker they could find into the suit. Because of the disparity of the complaints- some workers were denied promotions, some workers were denied hours, others were basically forced into hours that made it difficult for them to live their lives, and others didn't even have any legit actionable complaints at all (they hadn't been denied hours or promotions or raises), and were just trying to get a quick buck. The lawsuit became the largest class-action lawsuit in history, but that was its downfall. There were too many people in the lawsuit to be able to prove that the discrimination had affected each of them, and because there was so much of a disparity between the complaints the plaintiffs had, it couldn't count as a class-action lawsuit. If they had divided the plaintiffs into groups of people who had been denied promotions, denied raises, forced to work odd hours if they didn't want to be fired, etc, and then filed those suits separately, then this wouldn't have happened. As he understands it, this doesn't rule out the possibility of the workers getting recompense, however- they just have to go through the right channels and not try to push through a humongous lawsuit that would be impossible to prove.

My friend basically told me that this was more of a "let's see how far we can push class-action suits!" exercise than anything actually related to fighting discrimination, anyway, so it's probably for the best that the Supreme Court tossed it, or else we'd have people trying to take advantage of the system using this case as precedent.

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That's pretty much what the dissenting opinion said (BTW, all three women dissented.) The inclusion for a class was too broad, and they felt that instead of just striking it down it should have been sent back to the lower court. There is a company policy saying that Walmart doesn't discriminate. However, the amount of control the managers have means that it does happen - even unconsciously. Women in the same jobs with more seniority than men make over $1 less per hour than the men!

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It just means that the size of the class was too large. They didn't demonstrate that the company acted in such a way to include a class of basically every single employee.

Gah, I hate to sound like this, but I think that I agree with the court. And I am not a Walmart fan and I do think there is a pattern of gender discrimination. But I don't think it is company policy but rather the outcome of other company policies. I am not sure that the plaintaiffs can argue a class that is so large.

This. My favorite was the allegation that hours were denied by the female supervisor. Attorney greed at its best!

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It means Wal Mart is going to hire more low-level female "managers." Maybe get another female or two into their top ranks so that they can make a good show of it. They will probably take a hard look at salaries and start paying men less as they get hired on, if they can get away with it.

I'm an attorney. Many people will speculate about what this means, but the cynical view is that we won't know what this means until more courts interpret the decision. I think the Court made a sound ruling based on the way class actions have always worked in the past. The attorneys (I hope) knew that the Court would rule this way. Yeah, they (I hope) knew they'd "lose." They might have taken the case initially just hoping for a fat settlement. Even without the fat settlement, it's still good for the attorneys. Cases like this make a name for the attorneys who take them, and they put pressure on corporations even when the corporations "win."Wal Mart got a lot of bad press from this, and it cost them a lot of money to defend this lawsuit.

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It means Wal Mart is going to hire more low-level female "managers." Maybe get another female or two into their top ranks so that they can make a good show of it. They will probably take a hard look at salaries and start paying men less as they get hired on, if they can get away with it.

I'm an attorney. Many people will speculate about what this means, but the cynical view is that we won't know what this means until more courts interpret the decision. I think the Court made a sound ruling based on the way class actions have always worked in the past. The attorneys (I hope) knew that the Court would rule this way. Yeah, they (I hope) knew they'd "lose." They might have taken the case initially just hoping for a fat settlement. Even without the fat settlement, it's still good for the attorneys. Cases like this make a name for the attorneys who take them, and they put pressure on corporations even when the corporations "win."Wal Mart got a lot of bad press from this, and it cost them a lot of money to defend this lawsuit.

Not sure what courts will do with this down the road, but I'm just cynical enough to agree with you on the hiring of low-level female managers. From what I've seen and read about happening in other industries, I also have a sneaking suspicion that the women promoted will be older and have more experience than the men who get promoted into those same jobs. But we'll see.

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It appears to be a procedural type ruling regarding the gateway to litigation on the size of the "class" in this particular class action. It does not speak to the merits at all. The courts love to get rid of cases via procedural type rulings.

Perhaps that was warranted here, I am not sufficiently familar with the case.

Congress may want to try a legislative fix on this vis-a-vis the Lilly Ledbetter case and the statute of limitations but I doubt it.

It is extremely difficult to win any type of workplace sexual discrimination suit. It helps if you can get the EEOC involved-I wonder if they were involved with this one. Doesn't sound like it.

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It appears to be a procedural type ruling regarding the gateway to litigation on the size of the "class" in this particular class action. It does not speak to the merits at all. The courts love to get rid of cases via procedural type rulings.

Perhaps that was warranted here, I am not sufficiently familar with the case.

Congress may want to try a legislative fix on this vis-a-vis the Lilly Ledbetter case and the statute of limitations but I doubt it.

It is extremely difficult to win any type of workplace sexual discrimination suit. It helps if you can get the EEOC involved-I wonder if they were involved with this one. Doesn't sound like it.

Re: the part in bold - The "class" in this case was huge. It basically included any female employee of WalMart who had a grievance and the issues ranged from policies to harassment by individual bad bosses to cases involving the counting of hours and more. The court left the door open for the employees who had something in common to form their own classes, but they weren't going to take the huge one. If some of these women can form a sufficiently large class, they may have some bargaining power, but if they have to go it alone or in small groups, it's going to be hard because Wal-Mart can way outspend them. That being said, I can see why the court ruled this way even though it pains me to say it because I think Wal-Mart just might be the sin in the camp.

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This is one of those rulings that sounds ridiculous in a headline, but seems reasonable in the fine print. Like the McDonald's case a decade or so ago. The court seems to be saying that while it is possible that some women were discriminated against, it is unlikely that every single female at Walmart was. They can still bring a class action lawsuit against Walmart, but they will have to have a better defined 'class'.

It's easy to hate on Walmart... they give us ample fodder... but I doubt every single female employee was the victim of gender discrimination.

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I'm thinking that Walmart is going to hate this decision.

There are a lot of under and unemployed attorneys out there, and this class was huge. I could see an attorney in a fairly large city in the South doing a business in representing individual women in Walmart discrimination suits. Walmart will be stretched thin.

Example: the IRS was brought to its knees when Scientologists filed over 2000 suits against the IRS circa 1990 because they were denied the religious tax exemption. Consequence: Scientology has a sekrit tax exemption that no other religious group can get. Plus they got off with paying only $12.5 million in back taxes in 1993.

If even one percent of the women of this potential class sue, that's 15,000 cases, spread all over the country, because Walmart is all over the country.

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