Wal-Mart Wins Another Round In Pay Discrimination Litigation
A Miami federal judge has rejected a discrimination lawsuit by women employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the Southeast, saying they were improperly "piggybacking" on a national class action that was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But an attorney for the 11 women named in the lawsuit said he will ask U.S. District Judge Robert Scola to certify a question to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that could lead to reconsideration of the dismissal.
Scola on Monday dismissed the lawsuit filed in October on behalf of female Wal-Mart workers in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and four neighboring states, citing regional case law.
Scola said the plaintiffs class duplicated the Dukes v. Wal-Mart claims rejected by the Supreme Court in 2011.
"Plaintiffs cannot assert class claims that were previously asserted and rejected," the judge said.
Miami attorney Hilarie Bass, co-president of Greenberg Traurig represented Wal-Mart. She did not return a call for comment by deadline.
Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove reiterated the company's position that it believes employees should bring cases separately.
"We are pleased the district court in Florida dismissed this class action," he said. "Five trial courts have unanimously concluded that these regional gender discrimination class action claims are not appropriate. We have said all along if someone feels they have been treated unfairly, they deserve to have their timely individual claim heard in court."
The Supreme Court found, among other things, the Dukes plaintiffs did not have enough in common to constitute a class.
A San Francisco federal judge handling the Dukes case ruled last month that the women couldn't sue as a group because the evidence didn't support their claim of a general policy of discrimination against the Bentonville, Arkansas, company.