Walmart is facing claims of gender discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 48 states and every U.S. Walmart retail region. The complaints cover nearly 2,000 current and former Walmart employees, who have had to go to the lengths of filing so many separate complaints because, in 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that women who had been discriminated against by Walmart couldn't form one national class for a class-action suit, because apparently it's all a coincidence that Walmart was discriminating against women across the country. The sheer volume of the current complaints constitutes a rebuke to that decision:
Brad Seligman, one of the lawyers for the women in Dukes v. Walmart Stores, Inc., said that "the fact that EEOC charges were filed in every single Walmart region in the nation demonstrates the widespread and pervasive nature of Walmart's pay and promotion discrimination against its women employees."Being forced to break it up area by area blunts some of the impact of the sheer scope of Walmart's discrimination. The dissenting opinion written by Justice Ginsburg in the Supreme Court case notes that:
1,975 charges were filed with the EEOC alleging Walmart discriminated in pay and promotion decisions. In some states, over 100 women filed complaints, such as Florida with 248 claims, Alabama with 142 claims, and Georgia with 199 claims of discrimination. Class action suits are now being filed by region against Walmart in California and Texas, and other suits are expected to be filed throughout the year.
Women fill 70 percent of the hourly jobs in the retailer's stores but make up only "33 percent of management employees." ... "[T]he higher one looks in the organization the lower the percentage of women." ... The plaintiffs' "largely uncontested descriptive statistics" also show that women working in the company's stores "are paid less than men in every region" and "that the salary gap widens over time even for men and women hired into the same jobs at the same time."However many of these complaints and lawsuits are ultimately successful, by battling a national class-action suit to the Supreme Court, Walmart gets to avoid the potential for a single, headline-grabbing, national finding of gender discrimination. Instead, women who have been discriminated against by Walmart, facing even worse pay and prospects for promotion than the already miserable levels faced by men at the retail giant, will have to fight it out state by state, always outspent and outgunned. But some of those women, at least, have a chance for a partial form of justice.