Editorial: Is Corporate America stalling women?

Female employees are suing Walmart for gender discrimination. They call it a companywide problem. The massive corporation wants them to sue individually. We see cause for a class-action lawsuit.

he Supreme Court began reviewing a gender bias case brought against Walmart on Tuesday.

The case could incorporate a plethora of female Walmart employees looking to prove that gender discrimination runs rampant through the multibillion-dollar corporation.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on March 29 on whether the facts warrant an incorporation of women’s claims into what could be the largest class-action suit ever.

For the past 10 years, female employees have been accusing the Fortune 500 company of biased treatment in the form of lesser pay and fewer career advancement opportunities.

According to the SCOTUS Blog, the case involved 1.5 million women at one point. The total number, after an appeals court ruling, dropped to more 500,000.

The women argue that the company has discriminated against females for years, pointing to lower salaries and a lack of promotions across the board.

Walmart, on the other hand, argues that any discrimination is diametrically opposed to its anti-discrimination policy, was a result of individual managers’ decisions and should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

The impact this case will have on future litigation in Corporate America is extensive.

If the court allows the women to bring forward their grievances as a class-action lawsuit, it could cost Walmart billions of dollars.

More than that, though, the decision could set a precedent for other larger groups of employees to prepare similar class-action suits.

If the court decides the claims affect each woman individually because of local managers’ specific pay and promotion decisions, the women would have to file their cases separately — a move that would cut Walmart’s costs dramatically.

The women’s individual cases should be brought to court as one class-action lawsuit in order to attain consistent and fair judgments.

Individual hearings would not present a balanced case against Walmart because there would be no pattern of gender discrimination.

This lawsuit began with six women filing complaints against the company and grew exponentially.

With such a large number of plaintiffs — all suing for similar discrimination — it seems not only plausible, but factual that the women of Walmart have a legitimate case.

If the plaintiffs’ situations were dissimilar to the point that their chances of winning were decreased, why would they band together?

It is important for the case to continue as class-action for the purpose of consistency, as each woman has faced similar situations concerning pay and promotions.

This case has been in the works for 10 years. If the thread that bounds these women was weak, one must question how they were able to endure the rigorous ups and downs this lawsuit has seen.

A singular lawsuit would allow the group of women to clearly outline a pattern of misconduct on the part of Walmart.

The female plaintiffs call their case one of civil rights, as they are hoping to bring Walmart into the modern era of gender equality and opportunity.

This should be the essence in the review room as the Supreme Court justices examine the case, and it is our hope that they will bring fairness and balance to the legal system by allowing the women of Walmart to present their case together and on an equal footing with a power-oriented corporation.