07/05/2011 // San Francisco, California, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Eric Grover San Francisco Employment Attorney
San Francisco, CA (San Francisco Employment Attorney News) — The Supreme Court reversed a class certification ruling in a class action discrimination lawsuit against retail giant Wal-Mart, filed on behalf of more than 1 million current and former female employees, who claim they were discriminated against because of their gender. While Wal-Mart may be celebrating the landmark victory, employment attorneys nationwide are now concerned that the ruling will jeopardize other large class action lawsuits in the future—limiting access to the courts and justice for wronged employees across the United States, stated California employment lawyer, Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
On Monday, June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court overruled the federal courts in San Francisco that had allowed all women who worked for Wal-Mart since December 1998 to join in a single, nationwide suit seeking back pay. The Court decided that the plaintiffs’ request for back pay and injunctive relief did not coincide with Rule 23(b)(2) of the federal regulations.
While all nine justices joined in that narrow part of the decision, in a 5-4 majority ruling split along ideological lines, the conservative members of the Court also said the plaintiffs failed to provide proof of a common company wide policy of discrimination, which he said is necessary to certify a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(2). “To sue about literally millions of employment decisions at once, [plaintiffs] need some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together,” reported the National Law Journal.
The plaintiffs claimed that because of Wal-Mart’s policies, managers have almost complete discretion in hiring and promotions, which has led to discriminatory abuses. But, Justice Scalia led a five-member majority that believes: “A company that allows local managers to decide pay and promotions can’t be held responsible for sex-based disparities in the corporation unless those differences can be tied to some company wide practice that amounts to ‘a general policy of discrimination,’” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
A company whose policies denied women equal pay would be entitled to individual hearings on the amount due to each worker, Scalia said. This ruling has class action attorneys and employment lawyers across the nation up in arms because this changes the landscape of future employment lawsuits, which could make it harder for wronged employees to prevail in a court of law.
“If an employee is only seeking a small amount of back pay, the likelihood of an employment attorney taking their case in minimal. Thus leaving wronged employees without justice, promotions or their hard earned money in their pocket. This will allow employers to continue to employ discriminatory practices with the safety net of this ruling to protect their actions,” explains San Francisco employment attorney Eric Grover.
In addition, this ruling could essentially enable corporations to shield themselves from discrimination lawsuits by adopting written corporate polices of nondiscrimination, in spite of the fact that their local branch employers turn a blind eye toward bias and discrimination as common practices in the workplace—a major blow to the ongoing campaign for workplace equality, the San Francisco employment attorney asserted.
The precedent-setting class action judgment ultimately limits the ability of employees to stand on equal ground with major corporations and employers, like Wal-Mart, whose employment policies have negatively impacted their hard-working employees. This Supreme Court employment class action lawsuit ruling greatly diminishes the opportunity for wronged employees to fight mega corporations and win, thus leaving workers with nowhere to turn for justice, stated Grover—a California employment lawyer.
This class action news is brought to you by the California employment lawyers at Keller Grover LLP. If you or someone you love has been a victim of workplace discrimination and harassment based on race, sex, age, and disability, or you had your wage and hour rights violated, contacting a knowledgeable San Francisco employment attorney can help get the justice you deserve. Call San Francisco Employment Lawyer today: 415.659.9937
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