1. According to this case, which employment laws has Walmart been accused of violating? I say the Title VII of the CRA of 1964.
2. How might it have avoided those charges?
3. Which challenge do you think will be more difficult for Wal-Mart: diversifying its top management ranks or ending charges of discrimination? Why?
4. Do you think more diversity among its executives would help Walmart avoid problems with discrimination? If so, how? If not, why not?
Wal-Mart Class Action Decision Brings Difficulties for Employees
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision dismissing a massive class action employment discrimination suit against retail giant Wal-Mart. The Court determined that there was no common issue of law or fact linking all of the members of the class and the lower court erred in certifying all female Wal-Mart employees from 1989 to the present as a class. The suit alleged that Wal-Mart's employment policies and practices resulted in thousands of discriminatory decisions regarding the hiring and promotion of women. The plaintiffs in the case filed the class action suit on behalf of up to 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees and sought billions of dollars in damages.
In reaching its decision, the Court noted that Wal-Mart had expressed a policy of anti-discrimination and gave substantial discretion to local managers in hiring decisions. The Court then reasoned that there was no way that the answer to the question "Why was I passed over?" could be the same for each member of the class in light of such policies, meaning that the women did not constitute a class for the purposes of filing a class action lawsuit.
Business leaders welcomed the Court's decision. Robin S. Conrad, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Litigation Center, called the decision "the most important class-action case in more than a decade" and said that the decision protected businesses from having to choose between...