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Women in Wal-Mart sex-bias case amend lawsuit

Plaintiffs focus on California regions in reformulated lawsuit

Although the Supreme Court tossed out their national class action lawsuit four months ago, the women pursuing discrimination claims against Wal-Mart filed a reformulated lawsuit Thursday.

The original lawsuit asserted that the retail company practices gender bias by denying pay raises and promotions to women. The lawsuit originated in 1999 when Stephanie Odle was fired after complaining she had discovered that a male employee was making $23,000 more a year than she was, despite have less experience and working the same job.

However, Wal-Mart argued the proposed class of 1.5 million female employees in different jobs nationwide and with different supervisors didn’t have enough in common to be included in a single class. The Supreme Court agreed, and Justice Antonin Scalia said the case involved “literally millions of employment decisions.”

Thus, the plaintiffs amended the lawsuit to focus only on California regions, filing the suit in San Francisco. Joseph M. Sellers, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, told The New York Times the new lawsuit addresses the Supreme Court’s concerns from its June ruling.

“Each plaintiff has worked in Wal-Mart’s California regions and has been subjected to the discriminatory policies and practices alleged,” the amended lawsuit says.

Still, Wal-Mart attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said in a statement to Reuters the new arguments use the same theories the Supreme Court already rejected and called the plaintiff lawyers “more intent on alleging classes for their publicity value than their legal virtue.”

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