19 October 2012

Judge dismisses Walmart gender bias class-action

A federal court in Texas has dismissed a class-action from former female employees of Walmart that claimed the world's largest retailer discriminated on the grounds of gender - but individual actions are likely to proceed.

By Megan Malloy

Is a woman driving that lorry? Frontpage/Shutterstock.com

The lawsuit was filed last year after the Supreme Court rejected a nationwide class-action, the Bloomberg news agency reports. The retail chain now faces four regional lawsuits that claim unequal pay and promotion since the Supreme Court handed down its decision last June.

Remedial action

The Texas lawsuit limited its scope to a handful of stores as opposed to the 41 company regions featured in the nationwide case. Confining their complaints to Texas, lawyers for the women claimed that specific managers ‘have long known about gender disparities’ and ‘have yet to take remedial action.’
The Texas class action was dismissed by US District Judge Reed O’Connor under the statute of limitations, but the ruling will allow individual claims to continue. The dismissal cited a 5th circuit rule that bans former class members from filing subsequent class-action suits, which the plaintiffs claim to be outdated.
A spokeswoman for the group explained: ‘We plan to appeal this ruling, which relies heavily on a 25-year-old 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which we believe has been effectively overturned by subsequent US Supreme Court decisions.’

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