Modern Lady Reports on Women-Workers V. Wal-Mart Class Action Suit

by Intern Julie

A class-action suit has been filed against the Wal-Mart corporation on behalf of 1.5 million former and current Wal-Mart women workers. The plaintiffs claim that Wal-Mart promotes a work culture of patriarchy where women are constantly devalued in the workplace. The sex discrimination case includes multiple instances of men being promoted over women with similar qualifications, wage disparity that favors men in comparable positions as women, – in one case, a male manager was paid 10,000 dollars more annually than a female manager at the same store, –  management meetings being held at Hooters restaurants, and women employees being told to doll-up or facing sexual harassment on the job.

The company is the largest private employer in the United States; employing over 1.4 million workers, one million of which are hourly-waged. 80% of Wal-Mart’s hourly waged workers are women, while only 1/3 of managers are female. As you go up the chain of command, the percentage of male workers over women workers increases.

Betty Dukes, one of the main plaintiffs in the case stated on March 31st, that “I brought this case because I believe that there was a pattern of discrimination at Wal-Mart, not just in my store, but I believe it is across the country. Since we have filed our lawsuits in 2001, I have heard from numerous women, telling me basically the same story as mine of disparative treatment in lack of promotion, as well in lack of pay.”

The case has been 11 years in the making, with the original class action suit being filed in 1999.  The hearing on March 31st will decide whether or not the Supreme Court will allow the suit to proceed as a class action lawsuit. If it does, it will be the largest class action suit in the history of the United States.

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