Walmart is currently facing the largest class-action employment discrimination lawsuit that has ever been faced in history. The case began nearly a decade ago with six women who had alleged that they had faced discrimination in the workplace. Today, it is estimated that nearly 1.5 million women are involved with the class action lawsuit.
Mary Henderson, a former Walmart assistant manager in Colorado, joined the lawsuit in 2001. She claimed that there were numerous men that had been promoted to managerial positions before she had been. She claims that when she asked why other males were promoted before her, the store manager replied, “Well, he’s got a family to support, you don’t.”
Others have made similar claims: One woman claims that her male manager told her, “women should be home barefoot and pregnant and women weren’t qualified to be managers because men had an extra rib.” Another woman alleged that her vice president would not allow her to advance because she did not “hunt, fish, or do other typically-male activities.”
According to Walmart, the class-action lawsuit is too large—representing far too large a number of women in far too many stores across the nation. Moreover, Walmart argues that the entire company cannot be held accountable due to the fact that 3,400 store managers across the nation are the ones who decide which individual promotions will go to.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the case should proceed as a class-action lawsuit or individual cases in June. If the lawsuit makes it to the Supreme Court, and if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, they could be awarded billions of dollars of back pay.
This class action lawsuit could be a huge step for the women’s rights’ movement. This lawsuit brings attention to the fact that either Walmart discriminates towards women on a regular basis or that the entire nation universally discriminates against women.
This lawsuit will be hard for the plaintiffs to win because they will have to provide evidence that Walmart has implemented policies that intentionally discriminate against women, or that the board of directors goes to each store to ensure that women are not put into managerial positions.
It appears to me that the Walmart class action lawsuit is a clear example of what a majority of our nation’s companies do in today’s society. It has been almost 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, and statistics show that women still only earn 78 cents to every male dollar.
Although this case may be difficult to prove, I believe that it should go forth as a class-action lawsuit. Since Walmart is the world’s largest corporation, this case could prove to American businesses that there are consequences for gender discrimination in the workplace.
Females should have an equal opportunity at obtaining promotions and receiving pay equal to their male counterparts with similar experiences. Therefore, I believe that the Supreme Court should take the case, so that it can open the doors to huge gains in the women’s rights’ movement, and for all women across the United States.