The court ruled unanimously that the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot proceed as a class action, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The lawsuit could have involved up to 1.6 million women, with Wal-Mart facing potentially billions of dollars in damages.
Now, the handful of women who brought the lawsuit may pursue their claims on their own, with much less money at stake and less pressure on Wal-Mart to settle.
In an initial response to the decision, the National Women’s Law Center Co-President Marcia Greenberger stated:
“Today, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court issued a devastating decision undoing the rights of millions of women across the country to come together and hold their employers accountable for their discriminatory practices. The Court has told employers that they can rest easy, knowing that the bigger and more powerful they are, the less likely their employees will be able to join together to secure their rights. The women of Wal-Mart—together with women everywhere—will now face a far steeper road to challenge and correct pay and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.”