Labor: Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes—The defense should not rest

While Wal-Mart may have won the battle, the class action wars continue unabated

Many viewed the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2011 ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes as a panacea for the defense bar in defeating employee class actions. In Dukes, the Supreme Court vacated certification of a nationwide class in a gender discrimination context. The court ruled that the plaintiffs had not shown that they shared common issues of law or fact. Clearly, the optimistic view of the ruling expressed by many has turned out not to be the case; the government has been no less vigorous in pursuing recoveries on behalf of classes of employees, and a number of courts have certified classes in 2011 and again this year.

For example, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on May 1 that Wal-Mart had settled a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) matter for $5.29 million that involved back overtime for the period from June 2004 through March 2007. According to the DOL, the investigation involved current and former vision center managers and asset protection coordinators at Wal-Mart Discount Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club warehouses who were owed overtime compensation. 

Contributing Author

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Richard Glovsky

Richard D. Glovsky is a partner and nationally recognized trial lawyer and employment law attorney with Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. He can be reached at...

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