Wal-Mart Rolls Back Discrimination Law Suit

Photo: Joey Caputo (CC)

Photo: Joey Caputo (CC)

Is Wal-Mart too big to sue? How will this and previous law suits against Wal-Mart effect the future of how other businesses deal with discrimination? Via MSNBC:

If you’re part of a group of employees working for a major U.S. corporation with a gripe about unfair treatment, your collective voices were potentially muffled Monday.

A key attempt to tackle inequality in the U.S. workforce suffered a major blow when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Wal-Mart — with its thousands of stores and millions of employment decisions — was too massive for a group of employees to sue for discrimination using class-action status.

Wal-Mart, according to a 5-4 decision by the high court, is just too big to sue. The court’s decision is a direct hit to women seeking parity in particular. Women now make up about half the U.S. workforce and that means no other minority group seeking a class action would likely constitute such a big block of employees at any one employer.

“When you get a company that’s as huge as Wal-Mart and then try to get an all-encompassing class-action suit, it’s not going to go,” said Robert Langran, a Supreme Court expert and a Villanova University political science professor. “But it raises the question: What is too big? Where do you draw the line?”

[Continues at MSNBC]

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, this sucks donkeynards.  Big time.

    But I think most of the coverage of this decision has failed to make clear that there are two issues in this case; one with massive ramifications that basically destroys the civil rights suit as we know it, and one that was (relatively) trivial.  The consensus about the second point seems to have obscured the indefensibly reactionary and stupid character of the majority opinion on the first issue.

    What 5 out of 9 justices said here was that a company has to essentially have the words “We officially endorse discrimination in the workplace” written into its policy documents in order to make company-wide cases like this stick.  It’s no longer enough to show an obvious history of dealings that demonstrates collusion and discrimination in deed.  That’s the basic principle underlying American and English Common Law, folks.  And Scalia, Roberts et al. have decided that when there’s Big Corp moolah on the line, it don’t apply.

    All the judges agreed that the definition of “class” used by the plaintiff’s attorneys was defective here, in that it didn’t demonstrate a cohesive group of people with standing to sue under the relevant law.  But 4 out of 9 thought that the answer was to send it back to the lower court to hammer that out and re-try the case.

    Nope.  Not good enough for the Forces of Evil.  They had to take the totally irrelevant nuclear option, to the utter disregard of nearly a millenium of legal tradition and any semblence of respect for human dignity.  The likes of George Jeffreys and Frederick Falkiner must be toasting each other in Hell over this one.

    • Hadrian999

      walmart fucks over all it’s workers without regard for race, creed, sex, or religion, they are a shining beacon of equal opportunity exploitation to assholes everywhere.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      By implication, the ruling suggests that if a crime is large enough…it stops being crime…which somehow doesn’t shock me considering  the majority in this case (the usual clique Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas +1)

    • SF2K01

      Thanks to the supreme court, companies don’t just have to same rights as people, they’re better than people. Way to screw that one up. Especially in a situation where the workforce is “too big” to effectively strike (aside from Wal-Mart’s union suppression activities).

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this sucks donkeynards.  Big time.

    But I think most of the coverage of this decision has failed to make clear that there are two issues in this case; one with massive ramifications that basically destroys the civil rights suit as we know it, and one that was (relatively) trivial.  The consensus about the second point seems to have obscured the indefensibly reactionary and stupid character of the majority opinion on the first issue.

    What 5 out of 9 justices said here was that a company has to essentially have the words “We officially endorse discrimination in the workplace” written into its policy documents in order to make company-wide cases like this stick.  It’s no longer enough to show an obvious history of dealings that demonstrates collusion and discrimination in deed.  That’s the basic principle underlying American and English Common Law, folks.  And Scalia, Roberts et al. have decided that when there’s Big Corp moolah on the line, it don’t apply.

    All the judges agreed that the definition of “class” used by the plaintiff’s attorneys was defective here, in that it didn’t demonstrate a cohesive group of people with standing to sue under the relevant law.  But 4 out of 9 thought that the answer was to send it back to the lower court to hammer that out and re-try the case.

    Nope.  Not good enough for the Forces of Evil.  They had to take the totally irrelevant nuclear option, to the utter disregard of nearly a millenium of legal tradition and any semblence of respect for human dignity.  The likes of George Jeffreys and Frederick Falkiner must be toasting each other in Hell over this one.

  • Hadrian999

    walmart fucks over all it’s workers without regard for race, creed, sex, or religion, they are a shining beacon of equal opportunity exploitation to assholes everywhere.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    By implication, the ruling suggests that if a crime is large enough…it stops being crime…which somehow doesn’t shock me considering  the majority in this case (the usual clique Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas +1)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to the supreme court, companies don’t just have to same rights as people, they’re better than people. Way to screw that one up. Especially in a situation where the workforce is “too big” to effectively strike (aside from Wal-Mart’s union suppression activities).

  • Anonymous

    Rejoice! As the middle class dies, so will Wal-Mart…

  • GoodDoktorBad

    Rejoice! As the middle class dies, so will Wal-Mart…

  • Anon

    this sellout is as morally cheap as the cost of goods and labour at walmart

  • Anon

    this sellout is as morally cheap as the cost of goods and labour at walmart

  • Anon

    this sellout is as morally cheap as the cost of goods and labour at walmart

  • Anon

    this sellout is as morally cheap as the cost of goods and labour at walmart