Wal-Mart is having legal trouble again, and this time it is affecting the fashion industry. WWD confirmed last month that Wal-Mart has taken part in what could be the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history. A small group of female employees claimed that the retailer favored men over women, in fields such as wages and promotions.
This fast-moving lawsuit could affect more than one million female employees in the company. Wal-Mart’s appeal has stated that the case “does not fulfill the legal requirements for class action certification,” so allegations are still underlying. Similar claims go back all the way to 1998 with almost identical accusations.
In court, arguments have been made that Wal-Mart has paid women less than men and fewer opportunities for promotions, just because of their gender, even if they have higher seniority and performance. On the other hand, Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed that the women’s complaint “faces in two directions” and that the women are “unsure what the company’s unlawful policy is.” Chief Justice John Roberts said that there are a few “bad apples” in the company that cannot be represented as a whole. Wal-Mart claims to have a “strict company-wide policy” to eliminate discrimination.
While there are still legal arguments happening, a decision is said to come by this summer as to whether the case can move any further.