On March 29, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the largest gender discrimination class action lawsuit ever filed —Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, et al. In this landmark case, the Court was presented with the question of whether Wal-Mart discriminated on a class-wide basis against female employees in their pay, promotions and job assignments because of their gender. The plaintiffs seek to represent 1.6 million women, including all those who work or have previously worked in a Wal-Mart store since December 26, 1998. In June 2004, the federal district court ruled that the class would be certified (allowed to go forward as a class action). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the class certification. Wal-Mart appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The unofficial transcript of the Supreme Court oral argument is available at:
No matter what side of the debate you favor, the oral argument transcript is worth a read. The stakes are high for both employers and employees. The Supreme Court decision will likely be handed down in late June 2011.