Employment Discrimination Blog

Monday, June 25, 2012

Current and Former Female Wal-Mart Employees Sue for Discrimination

Almost 2,000 current and former female employees of Wal-Mart have filed charges of discrimination in pay and promotions with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charges were filed in 48 states (all states except Montana and Vermont), with Georgia having the third largest number of claims in the suit, at 119.

The EEOC enforces federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the women the right to certify as a national class action, finding that the legal and factual issues involving the female employees did not have enough in common to be certified as a class action suit. By filing charges with the EEOC, the women protect their right to sue for discrimination. The claims date back to 1998, and include both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

In addition to the charges with the EEOC, regional class actions were filed in federal courts in California and Texas in October 2011, and numerous other class actions are expected to be filed in other states this year. The lawsuits claim that attitudes were pervasive throughout Wal-Mart that men deserved more money than women, and that men were better managers. One lawsuit also alleges that job opportunities weren’t posted, but were passed along through word-of-mouth, primarily to men. The case began when a female employee was fired after she complained that she was discriminated against based on her sex. She found out that a male employee with the same job and less experience was making $23,000 per year more than she was.

By law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on sex. Currently, the Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace must be given equal pay for equal work. Their jobs don’t have to be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibit compensation discrimination on the basis of sex.

Employees in who feel that they have been discriminated against in the workplace based on sex may have a claim for employment discrimination. Those individuals should seek out a qualified Georgia employment attorney as soon as possible to explore the possibility of pursuing a legal claim.

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