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Employees Face High Hurdles in Class Actions Alleging Discrimination

This report relates to 1 case(s)

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    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011) (0 other reports)

Author: William Denham

In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, +131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), the United Supreme Court addressed whether the Title VII sex discrimination claims of nearly 1.5 million former and current Wal-Mart employees could proceed as a nationwide class action.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion and gender. An employer may be liable for policies that have a discriminatory result or disparate impact or effect on an employee's pay or promotions. +42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k). In contrast to individual lawsuits, class action lawsuits in federal court must satisfy special rules and be certified by a court in order to proceed. Those federal rules require that all members of the proposed class share commonality with each other. +Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(2).

In this case, the Supreme Court held that the proposed class of Wal-Mart employees did not meet the commonality requirement and, therefore, the suit could not proceed as a class action.