Wal-Mart Ruling Creates a Media Firestorm, and Systemic Change to Come

Unless you’ve been holed up under a rock for the past week, you have probably heard by now about the ruling allowing the most massive sex discrimination class action case ever to go forward against Wal-Mart Stores. And at this point, there probably isn’t much left that hasn’t been said about it already, because such a key ruling against the world’s largest employer is so newsworthy that every other article that appeared in the past week seems to be about Wal-Mart. So in case you missed the articles, because you were at the NELA Convention in San Antonio, on summer vacation, or too busy to keep up, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the articles right here.

If you’re one of the very few that hasn’t yet heard, here’s what happened, in a nutshell: On Tuesday, June 22, U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins of the Northern District of California ruled that approximately 1.6 million current and former female employees could sue their employer, Wal-Mart, as part of a class action, rather than individually. The suit includes virtually all women who have worked at Wal-Mart since 1998, and is designed to address allegations that Wal-Mart set up a system that frequently pays its female workers less than their male counterparts for comparable jobs and bypasses them for key promotions. (See Associated Press article.)

Based on the evidence already put forward by the attorneys for the plaintiff class, Judge Jenkins found that the “plaintiffs present largely uncontested descriptive statistics which show that women working at Wal-Mart stores are paid less than men in every region, that pay disparities exist in most job categories, that the salary gap widens over time, that women take longer to enter management positions, and that the higher one looks in the organization the lower the percentage of women.” While Wal-Mart is certain to appeal this ruling, and the female employees are unlikely to see any relief for years to come, the decision is nonetheless extremely significant, both for the size of the class certified, and for the ripple effect the decision against an employer the size of Wal-Mart is likely to have for years to come.

A case of this size and scope is not allowed to proceed without a tremendous amount of hard work by all of the attorneys involved in the case, so congratulations are definitely in order! (view Attorney Profiles).

Here is a compilation of many of the recent articles on the decision:

Associated Press (law.com): Class Action Status Granted in Wal-Mart Discrimination Case

Associated Press (Arizona Republic): Wal-Mart sex-bias case may reshape retail world

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Author had eyes opened at Wal-Mart job

Baltimore Sun: Sex-bias suit is reminder of salary gap

Business Week: What a Wal-Mart Deal Might Look Like

Chicago Tribune: 1.5 million in Wal-Mart suit

CNBC: Wal-Mart on trial

Contra Costa Times (registration required): Wal-Mart sex bias suit given class-action status

Underdog affinity fires Seligman’s legal career (Profile of attorney Brad Seligman)

Daytona Beach News-Journal: Fight for equity: American women still lose in the workplace

Forbes.com: Wal-Mart And Sex Discrimination By The Numbers

Lawrence Journal-World (Newsday): Wal-Mart battling negative publicity

Los Angeles Times: Wal-Mart Lawsuit Could Pave Way for Other Massive Job-Bias Claims

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Editorial: Wal-Mart in court/Ruling to bring useful scrutiny

New York Times: Wal-Mart Sex-Bias Suit Given Class-Action Status

Attention Wal-Mart Plaintiffs: Hurdles Ahead

Social Issues Tug Wal-Mart in Differing Directions

NPR (audio report): Landmark Wal-Mart Sex-Bias Suit Moves Forward

The Oregonian: Job equality doesn’t just happen, girls

Philadelphia Inquirer: Learning from suit against Wal-Mart

Richmond Times-Dispatch: 4 Va. women go public about suit

San Diego Union-Tribune: Wal-Mart sex-bias case could stir up talk, more lawsuits

San Francisco Chronicle: Wal-Mart faces huge sex discrimination suit

Time Magazine: Wal-Mart’s Gender Gap

USA Today: Wal-Mart in record sex bias suit

‘Rife with discrimination’

Women say Wal-Mart execs knew of sex bias

Washington Post: Wal-Mart Bias Case Moves Forward

Wal-Mart Suit May Force Wider Look at Pay Gap Between Sexes

Workday Minnesota: Working women applaud certification of Wal-Mart discrimination suit

Other Resources:

Wal-Mart Class Website

Judge Jenkins’ Order in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

Class Action Complaint in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

Press Release: Federal Judge Orders Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the Nation’s Largest Private Employer, To Stand Trial for Company-Wide Sex Discrimination

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.