The Impact of Wal-Mart v. Dukes

In June 2011, the Supreme Court decertified a class action brought by women claiming that Wal-Mart underpaid and underpromoted its female employees throughout the chain. The Court's decision in the case, called Wal-Mart v. Dukes, was predicted to have significant effect on plaintiffs' ability to litigate Title VII discrimination cases on a classwide basis. Two years later, ProPublica has reported on the impact of Dukes.

The Dukes decision has already been cited more than 1,200 times
in rulings by federal and state courts, a figure seen by experts as
remarkable. Jury verdicts have been overturned, settlements thrown out,
and class actions rejected or decertified, in many instances undoing
years of litigation. The rulings have come in every part of the country,
in lawsuits involving all types of companies, including retailers
(Family Dollar Stores), government contractors (Lockheed Martin Corp.),
business-services providers (Cintas Corp.), and magazines (Hearst
Corp.). The aftershocks have been felt in many kinds of lawsuits beyond
the employment field, as well.

The story has some examples of cases that were certified as class actions post-Dukes. Overall, though, the article shows the very significant barrier that the Supreme Court's decision has created to litigation of large class actions, in civil rights cases and otherwise.


0 thoughts on “The Impact of Wal-Mart v. Dukes

  1. Mark Hillenbrand says:

    Another benefit to this would be to force other chains (K-Mart, Target, etc) to make their prices and working conditions better in an effort to keep the business coming their way from consumers boycotting Wal-Mart.

  2. michele says:

    I believe the only way to stop discrimination at Wall Mart is to refuse to work and to buy from the corporation. As unrealistic as this may sound and as justified people may feel their rights are valuable, it is not reality in today’s economy. Corporations make the terms, not employees. Corporations control the markets not consumers. Courts have the back of corporations. As a consumer economy the only power a consumer has it its choice. Be part of the problem or part of the solution. Stop blaming a corporation for wrong doing; do the right thing.

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