Wal-Mart Class Action Gender Discrimination Case

Essay by prophet0783University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2007

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It's funny how one of the largest companies in the U.S. also holds the record for the nation's largest class action suit on discrimination. In the article, "Wal-Mart Class Action Gender Discrimination Case Holds Warnings for All Employers", by Myron Curry, President and CEO of BusinessTrainingMedia.com, he talks about the evidence on both sides and what other employers can learn from this case.

The case that started out as a lawsuit filed by six Californian women now represents all (roughly 1.6 million) women in the U.S. hired from 1988 until present day. Class action status was granted by Judge Martin Jenkins due to Wal-mart being unable to dispute the following claims made by the plaintiffs. Women's pay is less than men's in every region of the U.S. and in all job categories. The difference in salary also increases over time even with employees working in the same position. Third, women who occupy two-thirds of the workforce are occupying only one third of all manager's positions and only fourteen percent of store manager's positions.

By comparison, 60 percent of the mangers positions in other merchandise stores are occupied by women. And fourth, as if it wasn't enough, it also takes women longer to reach management positions. The judge claims that although none of the facts presented by the plaintiffs were proof, they helped support "an inference that Wal-Mart engages in discriminatory practices."Wal-mart defended itself by saying that the differences in numbers were created by reasons other than discriminatory practices. As many other employers have claimed in similar cases, they claimed that women either were not interested or were not qualified for higher level positions.

Curry states that although most class action cases settle out of court instead of going to term, other employers can learn how to avoid a potentially...