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Judge 'seriously concerned' about viability of Walmart cases

In our last post we discussed the widespread EEOC filings against Walmart. Female employees there say that the company denies them job opportunities and pays them less than their male counterparts, and have been pursuing a class action lawsuit against the company for many years.

Their cause faced a huge setback last year when the Supreme Court said that their claims did not have enough in common to be joined as class for a class action suit. The dismantled class was comprised of up to 1.5 million current and former Walmart employees. The women continued their struggle by re-filing complaints with the EEOC as individuals all across the country.

Now the case has faced another setback as a federal district court judge said in a hearing last week that he was "seriously concerned" about the evidence the women are presenting in this case. The hearing was for a newly filed class action that contains a portion of the affected women with more narrowly tailored claims, about 45,000 individuals in total.

One of the attorneys representing the women said that they had uncovered new facts showing direct evidence of gender discrimination within Walmart, including statements made by managers.

This ongoing controversy shows how difficult it can be for employees with few resources to go up against such a large corporation. These women clearly need to have their rights respected but are being continually pushed back into the margins by one of the country's largest and most powerful corporations. It's hard to believe that so many women would struggle for so long against discrimination that is nonexistent, and hopefully this new tactic will allow them to have their day in court.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Judge casts doubt on Walmart gender discrimination lawsuit," Dan Levine, June 8, 2012.

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