Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, which concerned 1 million female workers who attempted to form a class to sue the retail giant for discrimination at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart stores around the country.
The suit, filed in 2001, aimed to cover every woman who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores at any point since December 1998, including those not hired until years after the suit was filed.
The women pressing the suit claim they and colleagues across the country were victimized by Wal-Mart’s practice of letting local managers make subjective decisions about pay and promotions.
A federal appeals court had let the suit go forward on behalf of women who were working at Wal-Mart at the time the suit was filed.
The high court ruled unanimously on some aspects of the case and divided on others. Four justices said they would have returned the case to a lower court and let the workers try to press ahead with a class action under a different legal theory.
The case was one of the most closely watched Supreme Court business disputes in years, and billions of dollars were at stake for Wal-Mart, the world’s largest private employer.