Walmart Headed To Court

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 2:35pm

U.S. Supreme Court set to decide if class action sex discrimination suit can move forward.

The Supreme Court is taking on the largest job discrimination case in American history this week.

More than a million women in a class action suit claim Walmart discriminated against them in pay and promotions.

The court won't decide the merits of the case, but rather if that many complaints grouped together makes it impossible to defend.

The plaintiffs are people like Christine Kwapnoski, who says she once asked a supervisor at Walmart owned Sam's Club what she needed to do to get promoted.

"I was told had to blow the cobwebs off my make up and doll up!" she says.

On Tuesday the high court will hear arguments on whether so many plaintiffs makes it difficult for Walmart to fight.

Lead plaintiff Betty Dukes, who still works at Walmart, says there's no way they could have fought this individually.

The difference in pay between men and women only amounts to about $1,000 per person.

"Economically we don't have the resources to take on Walmart," Dukes says.

The retail giant claims it's impossible to prove the women were all in the same circumstances while they defend their treatment of employees.

"Walmart has had strong policies in place against discrimination long before the lawsuit was filed," says executive vice president Gisel Ruiz.

Legal experts say this conservative court doesn't often find in favor of class action,
but there are now three women on the bench.

A decision is expected by late June.

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