Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
, a sexual discrimination
lawsuit, was the largest civil rights class action
suit in United States
history. It charged Wal-Mart
with discriminating against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The case started in 2000, when a 54-year-old Wal-Mart worker in California
named Betty Dukes filed a sex discrimination claim against her employer. Dukes claims that, despite six years of hard work and excellent performance reviews, she was denied the training she needed to advance to a higher salaried position. Wal-Mart's position is that Dukes clashed with a female Wal-Mart supervisor and was disciplined for admittedly returning late from lunch breaks.
In June 2001, the lawsuit began in U.S. District Court
in San Francisco
. The plaintiffs seek to represent 1.6 million women, including all those who work or have previously worked in a Wal-Mart store since December 26, 1998. In June 2004, the federal district judge, Martin Jenkins
, ruled in favor of class certification under FRCP
23(b)(2). Wal-Mart appealed the decision.
In 2004, journalist Liza Featherstone
published a book about the case, Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart
in which she contends that Wal-Mart's success is based not only on its inexpensive merchandise or its popularity but also on bad labor practices, a charge she... Read More