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Wal-Mart Gender Discrimination Class Action Isn’t Finished

Just four months after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed their nationwide class action lawsuit for gender discrimination, Betty Dukes and other current and former Wal-Mart employees are back.  Although the Supreme Court’s decision in June held that the original plaintiff class did not meet the commonality requirements for class certification, it did not rule on the substance of the class Complaint, i.e. whether Betty Dukes and other female Wal-Mart employees had in fact been victims of sexual discrimination.  The Supreme Court did however lay out specific guidelines for class certification, including a more stringent commonality requirement.  As Justice Scalia wrote for the five justice majority, the class certification failed in part because the case involved “literally millions of employment decisions,” and the plaintiffs could not point to “some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together.”  Consequently, on October 26, 2011, a fourth amended complaint was filed in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  This complaint specifically limits the potential class to female Wal-Mart employees in California and some surrounding areas.  The complaint also attempts to correct other issues of commonality noted by the Supreme Court, by focusing on the common facts of the class claims and the narrowed focus of the class representation.  The complaint describes the California region of Wal-Mart stores as implementing a “good old boy philosophy” where job opportunities were passed along by word-of-mouth, rather than being posted, and usually given to men.  Employees and former employees who believe that they are or have been the victim of gender discrimination in the workplace should contact the employment discrimination attorneys at Ogborn Mihm LLP of Denver, Colorado, as soon as possible to discuss their potential claim. 

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