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Friday, September 27, 2013

The Impact and Echoes of the Wal-Mart Discrimination Case

This article is shared from propublica.

The post is shared from probulica.org.

Betty Dukes talks to the press on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court after the class action lawsuit Dukes v. Wal-Mart was argued before the court in Washington, March 29, 2011
(Photo: Reuters)
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes in June 2011, no one needed a Richter scale to know it was a Big One. In throwing out a mammoth lawsuit by women employees who claimed that they’d been systematically underpaid and underpromoted by the world’s biggest corporation, the ruling upended decades of employment discrimination law and raised serious barriers to future large-scale discrimination cases of every kind.

Employers rejoiced. Others predicted serious setbacks for women and minorities, especially in employment discrimination cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That landmark law had opened the way to the use of the class-action lawsuit as a potent weapon for people who could not stand up for their rights on their own.
Two years later, it’s becoming clear just how much the ruling has reshaped the American legal landscape.

The Dukes decision has already been cited more than 1,200 times in rulings by federal and state courts, a figure seen by experts as remarkable. Jury verdicts have been overturned, settlements thrown out, and class actions rejected or decertified, in many instances undoing years of litigation. The rulings have come in every part of the country, in lawsuits involving all types of companies,...
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