2,000 Walmart Workers File Gender Discrimination Complaints
Posted on June 8, 2012 by jway
Last year, the Supreme Court dismissed a class action gender bias lawsuit brought by 1.5 million former and current Walmart workers on procedural grounds. Now, many of those plaintiffs are in the process of filing individual complaints.
When the Supreme Court dismissed Dukes v. Walmart due to the complexity of proving such a large number of claims to be true, Walmart likely believed that it could close the door on that decade-long PR firestorm. However, Dukes and her peers haven’t given up. A press release from the women’s lawyers, released yesterday, states that almost 2,000 current and former female employees across the country have filed gender discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the last year.
The 1,975 EEOC complaints were filed in every Walmart retail region in the U.S., originating in 48 states (all but Montana and Vermont, where the company has a relatively small presence – 15 and 4 stores per state, respectively). The largest number of complaints came from Florida, with 284 filings, followed by Alabama (142) and Georgia (119). The geographical dispersion of the complaints “demonstrates the widespread and pervasive nature of Walmart’s pay and promotion discrimination against its women employees,” according to Brad Seligman of the Impact Fund, one of the lead lawyers in the Dukes case.
The EEOC complaints preserve the women’s right to sue Walmart for gender discrimination in pay and promotions, despite the dismissal of the Dukes class.
Apart from the individual EEOC complaints, smaller geographically-based class-action lawsuits have been filed in the last year by the original plaintiffs in the Dukes case in Texas and California. Walmart also settled a separate EEOC gender discrimination class-action suit for $11.7 million in 2010. That case alleged that Walmart gave preference to male entry-level applicants for warehousing jobs at a Distribution Center in Kentucky between 1998 and 2005. Also separate from the Dukes case, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld a $2 million ruling against the company in 2009 in favor of former Walmart pharmacist Cynthia Haddad, who “claimed she was fired by the retail chain after asking to be paid the same as her male colleagues.”
This post was written by Rebecca Cassler.