Congratulations to Wal-Mart

The Corporatist Supreme Court has now given you carte blanche to continue treating women as second class citizens. Despite lower courts ruling that the \"Dukes\" case should proceed as a class action, even Wal-Marts own lawyers urged settling of the case. In the new gilded age those who have the gold make the rules, and few people have more of the gold than the Walton’s. They took it right to Justice Scalia and friends because they knew whose side they were on. Instances like this:

Women who were given such astounding explanations for the inequality right before their eyes: Kathleen Macdonald, a clerk in Aiken, South Carolina, found out that her male co-workers were paid better — it was no secret, she says, “They bragged about it!” — and when she asked why, was told by her supervisor that “God made Adam first.” He did feel that some men take this prerogative to “an extreme — when they beat their women.”

Mean nothing when there is profit to be made. Now it is time for the women to dress sexy, put on more make up and get back to work!

“When I go back to work tomorrow, I’m going to let them know we are still fighting,” said Christine Kwapnoski, an assistant manager at a Sam’s Club in Concord, California. She had accused a male manager of yelling at female employees and telling her to “doll up” by wearing more makeup and dressing better while working on a loading dock.

It should not be surprising since the “tea party” election wave of 2010, there has been a war on women! Whatever it takes to save a buck on a blender!


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15 thoughts on “Congratulations to Wal-Mart

  1. I’ve been listening to Stephanie Miller this morning. After a discussion concerning this very ruling, a woman who identified herself as a lawyer from Chicago called into the show to offer an explanation as to why this ruling isn’t completely awful. Her assertion was that a class-action suit of that magnitude, with over a million people involved, isn’t winnable due to the fact that it would be hard to prove that all the individual cases are linked. Her reasoning was that there should be several smaller suits, based on regional findings regarding discrimination. Not being a lawyer, nor am I learned in the law, I don’t know if this is true or not. If there are any lawyers around this blog, I’d be interested in hearing their take on this.

    Which does not mean that I don’t think the Supreme Court is full of corporate whores. It is. I’m just interested in finding out if breaking the case up into smaller suits will be more effective.

  2. Jan, that’s somewhat the take I got from my lawyer in residence last night. Also, my lawyer says that despite the appearance of similar outcomes in various Walmarts around the country, it would be hard to prove a systematic action on Walmart’s part that caused those outcomes. That said, it clearly looks as if some of these cases are quite egregious. . . the one invoking Adam and Eve especially.

  3. From what I understand the original lawsuit was too broad and voted down 9-0 BUT on a 5-4 vote in favor of the Waltons, they voted down the option of them redoing it and coming back under different proceedings.

    The problem with smaller lawsuits all over the country is these are crazy expensive to file. It has alreeady cost the original firm on this case $3 million dollars. So smaller local law firms cant take these cases that last years upon years BUT Walmart can pay that money out of their spare change fund and keep these cases going forever and ever.

  4. The 9-0 concurrence was on a very narrow issue about back pay.

    I don’t buy the “magnitude” argument at all. The question before the court was whether there was a discriminatory, corporate-wide policy in place. If there was – and the district and 9th Circuit courts agreed there was – then that’s a fact binding the class, no matter how big it is.

    There’s no corporate behemoth exemption in the law. Well, at least there wasn’t until yesterday.

    1. The 9-0 concurrence was on a very narrow issue about back pay. No, it wasn’t just the back pay. They were unanimous on two thirds of the opinion, including the most important part – that the class status was not appropriate here. Agreement on that makes everything else moot as far as the case going forward.

      The only disagreement was that Justices Ginsburg, Breyer Sotomayor and Kagan thought the majority’s definition of the requirements for a class were in part, too restrictive. But they agreed with the assessment of the plaintiffs in this case.

      It’s like disagreeing with the ump in baseball where you both agree it was a ball, but he says it was too low and you say it was outside.

        1. As a group, yes. But every one of them is free to file a suit on their own against the people who actually harmed them – I guess I should say allegedly harmed them. Because with “a million” members in the group, it’s certain that there are many individuals who have no legitimate claim as well as many who have legitimate ones for awful behavior.

          The grievances should be handled individually, and on their own merits. If half of the stores get sued out of existence because it’s management is discriminatory, then great. (Well except for the people who’d lose their jobs). But I don’t care about Wal-mart – where they’ve broken the law, hammer them.

          I’d also think that if corporately, there’s a case to be made that women aren’t promoted into or within management, then hit them there too. A large part of the issue with this particular case is that the 25 year, experienced corporate executive in Arkansas who’s been passed up by less competent males and the checker in Great Falls, Montana whose boss hit on her don’t belong together in a lawsuit. Allegedly.

  5. First of all, I’d recommend actually reading the ruling over letting someone else tell you what to think about it.

    In a nutshell:

    On the facts of this case, the conceptual gap between an individual’s discrimination claim and “the existence of a class of persons who have suffered the same injury,” id., at 157–158, must be bridged by “[s]ignificant proof that an employer operated under a general policy of discrimination,” id., at 159, n. 15. Such proof is absent here. Wal-Mart’s announced pol- icy forbids sex discrimination, and the company has penalties for de- nials of equal opportunity.

    Then later:

    “The only corporate policy that the plaintiffs’ evidence convincingly establishes is Wal-Mart’s “policy” of allowing discretion by local supervisors over employment matters. On its face, of course, that is just the opposite of a uniform employment practice that would provide the commonality needed for a class action; it is a policy against having uniform employment practices. “

    And the justices were unanimous on this part of the opinion, that the plaintiffs in this case did not qualify for group status for a class action. I guess that makes Justices Sotomayor, and Kagan part of the tea party movement, waging war on women, huh?

  6. the justices were unanimous… that the plaintiffs in this case did not qualify for group status for a class action.

    That’s not what they agreed about. The concurrence was specifically on the technical issue whether the class could sue for back pay under the theory presented by the womens’ lawyers; the law only provides for injunctive relief.

    1. To restate that more clearly: the minority agreed that the class couldn’t be constituted for the purposes of seeking monetary damages, but said the majority improperly rejected the class action for all purposes.

    2. No, you’re wrong:

      SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined, and in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined as to Parts I and III.

      From the dissenting opinion:

      JUSTICE GINSBURG, with whom JUSTICE BREYER, JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, and JUSTICE KAGAN join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
      The class in this case, I agree with the Court, should not have been certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2).

      1. The class in this case, I agree with the Court, should not have been certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2).

        Sigh. The rules for seeking an injunction are more lenient than those for damages. Ginsberg is explaining that the class could not be created under the more lenient standard.

        She says the majority improperly took that ball and ran with it to make a broader, more general claim about forming classes.

      2. Why do you always have to be right, Locke? Isn’t it better to go thru life thinking one is right without ever having to actually confirm it?… 🙂

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