Wal-mart Stores female employees file new gender bias lawsuit

A group of seven female employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have brought a new class action against the retailer claiming they were denied promotions and were not paid equally in a case of sex discrimination.



According to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Florida on Monday, the women claim sex discrimination concerning both hourly roles and salaried management positions. Allegedly, jobs were not posted openly and relocation and travel benefits were not paid equally for men and women.

The current case is the latest evolution of the original sex discrimination lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart Stores in 2001, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores. The original case was certified a class action in 2004 when it represented 1.6 million employees claiming gender bias. In 2011 the US Supreme Court reversed the decision to grant class action certification on the basis that each plaintiff's claims were based on their own situations.

The first woman to sue Wal-Mart in the 2001 case, Betty Dukes, passed away in July and the current case is called Forbes v. Wal-Mart Stores. It is brought by seven members of the Dukes class from when that case was a class action.

The new Forbes lawsuit tries to establish a class of plaintiffs solely located in the southeastern US to meet the US Supreme Court's more specific guidelines for employment discrimination class actions. The complaint alleges they were discriminated against based on “a pattern or practice of gender discrimination in compensation and promotion."

The complaint goes on to say that Wal-Mart's practices had a "disparate impact, not justified by business necessity, on its female employees in the region.”

Wal-Mart spokesperson Randy Hargrove commented, "The class the plaintiffs now allege is no more appropriate than the nationwide class the Supreme Court has already rejected."

Since the class action was denied in 2011, Wal-Mart has received over 2,000 complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for sex discrimination in pay and promotions. The women are asking the court to award back pay as well as money for lost compensation and benefits. While Wal-Mart has not yet replied to the lawsuit, Hargrove's statement indicates it is ready to fight.


 

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