Supreme Court Sides With Wal-Mart in Sex Bias Case

More than 1M women don't have enough in common: justices
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 20, 2011 10:51 AM CDT
In this March 17, 2010 file photo, a worker gathers shopping carts near a Wal-Mart store in Washington Township, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court has ruled for Wal-Mart in the biggest sex discrimination lawsuit ever, holding that the case cannot proceed as a class action. The court rejected a US appeals court decision that as many as 1.6 million women could take part in the suit, which could have ultimately cost the company billions in damages. The high court agreed with Wal-Mart's argument that the women, who hold various positions under different supervisors at some 3,400 stores, are too different to unite in one class action.

Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion for the court's conservative majority said there needs to be common elements tying together "literally millions of employment decisions at once. That is entirely absent here." He was joined in his ruling by the four other conservative justices; the liberal justices agreed in part with the decision, but offered a partial dissent. The court didn’t rule on the actual allegations of discrimination, Reuters notes. The handful of women who brought the suit can still seek a much smaller claim, the AP reports.

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