WalMart faces off on March 29 with a group of angry women in front of the United States Supreme Court, in one of the biggest sex discrimination cases in U.S. legal history.
Court documents allege that WalMart has consistently given women less pay and fewer promotions since 1998. They allege managers hold meetings at Hooters, attend strip clubs, and refer to their female coworkers and employees as “girls.” And plaintiffs' lawyers say the corporate WalMart working environment is chock full of demeaning female stereotypes.
Robin Conrad of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called this case “the most important class-action case facing the court in over a decade.”
“The ability of women to be treated fairly in the workplace hangs in the balance,” says women's rights advocate Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center.
If WalMart wins this case, the class will be separated. The disgruntled employees will be able to pursue their cases, but they will have to do it on an individual basis. WalMart, of course, claims this is the correct course of action. They say that allowing the women to file as one based on things that happened in individual stores and offices is unfair.
The plaintiffs' lawyers, however, say that WalMart's tendency to turn a blind eye to complaints is grounds enough for a class action suit. An appeals court agreed with them, but we must now wait for the Supreme Court's verdict.