Walmart: Too Big to Sue?

Company says it's too big to be sued by 1.5M female employees
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 11:33 AM CDT
People line up outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, to attend a hearing on women employees against Wal-Mart.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – Walmart will go before the Supreme Court today and argue that it is simply too big to face a class action gender discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of some 1.5 million current and former female employees. “They have brought a case that implicates 3,400 stores around the country,” Walmart’s lawyer tells NPR, complaining that it involves “women at all different levels of the store, from store managers to the entry-level positions."

But the plaintiffs’ lawyer argues that the women almost all have “cookie-cutter type jobs,” so it’s fair to group them together. The Supreme Court won’t rule on the merits of the case, merely on whether the female employees form a valid class, but that alone could have a massive impact on the future of discrimination cases. More than 20 major US companies, including GE, Microsoft and Costco, have filed briefs backing Walmart, saying that they too could face crippling lawsuits if the case is allowed to proceed. (Click to read some thoughts on how the court will rule.)

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