Commentators expect conservative U.S. Supreme Court to "change the landscape" in Wal Mart case
Even though women make up about two-thirds of the hourly employees at Wal-Mart, only 14 percent of the store managers are women. In virtually every job category, average pay for men exceeds average pay for women. On the basis of this kind of structural analysis of statistical data, the lower Federal courts allowed a class action to go forward against Wal Mart on behalf of all of its women employees. Now, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether the class is too large and should not have been certified.
The current composition of the Court has ruled against women and other victims, and in favor of large corporations, fairly regularly since Bush appointees constituted the majority. With this in mind, it is widely anticipated that the Court will reject the current Wal Mart class action certification and require women to prove their discrimination claims individually. Both sides in the dispute point out that the ruling, whichever way it comes out, is likely to change the landscape for analyzing class action discrimination claims.