Reporting Kai Jackson
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The Supreme Court sides with Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, in a class action lawsuit launched by women who work there. The ruling could set a precedent for all big companies.
Kai Jackson explains why some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking action.
The issue of Wal-Mart and alleged discrimination isn’t over but observers say the high court’s ruling will have a chilling effect on similar claims in the future.
It’s a huge blow to women involved in a class action suit against mega-retailer Wal-Mart. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that the suit involved too many women in too many jobs at Wal-Mart and it can’t go forward as a class action in its current form.
“It’s just not one supervisor. It’s supervisor after supervisor after supervisor,” said Chris Kwapnoski.
In the suit first filed 10 years ago, women claimed they were passed over for raises and promotions while their male counterparts advanced up the corporate ladder.
“I felt that Wal-Mart let me down,” said Betty Dukes.
Justice Antonin Scalia said the plaintiffs didn’t show company-wide discrimination, an argument Wal-Mart’s been making all along.
“Our company culture is about providing all associates opportunities with advance and grow,” said Gisel Ruiz, Wal-Mart.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that this will make it even harder for women to fight discrimination in the workplace.
In a statement, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski said, “Women make this country run but we still earn just 77 cents for every dollar our male counterpart makes. The pay gap is unacceptable.”
Several of the plaintiffs have said they plan to continue their legal fight.