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Walmart gender discrimination issues continue


We have written previously about the long-running gender discrimination suits and scandal facing retail giant Walmart and how the outcome of such legal actions could affect Walmart employees here in South Florida. Though Walmart secured a decisive victory last summer when the Supreme Court ruled that the largest class-action employment lawsuit in history could not move forward as originally filed, the story continues.

The attorney who argued the class action before the Court last summer has recently asserted that serious gender discrimination issues are still prevalent inside Walmart's employee ranks. Though the retailer seems to be treating some gender-related issues with increased care, promotional opportunities and pay equity are still disparate between the sexes.

New suits alleging gender discrimination are being filed by women in various geographic regions, including Texas and California. The plaintiffs in these suits hope that their geographic similarities will aid in allowing their claims to be certified as class actions.

This point is critical, as the Supreme Court's denial of the original case was rooted in the argument that the 1.5 million original plaintiffs did not share enough common experience to be considered a class, for the purposes of the case.

The regional suits are primarily focused on issues relating to sexism in general, pay and promotional opportunities. Some of the highlighted stories in the Texas suit focus on women with significant experience being passed over for promotion multiple times in favor of younger male employees with little experience.

In addition, the suit alleges that complaints about pay equity have been met with responses like, "That's just the way it is. Men always get paid more." Also, women have been allegedly told that men are paid more because they have "families to support."

Only time will tell if these regional suits will be allowed to move forward. One way or another, employees who wish to air grievances regarding discrimination deserve (at minimum) to be heard by the justice system.

Source: Huffington Post, "Walmart faces long battle on sex discrimination, despite Supreme Court ruling," Lila Shapiro, Jan. 24, 2012

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