The Supreme Court on Monday tightened the rules for how large a group can jointly sue a company for alleged harm done to them with the dismissal of sex-discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of 1.5 million women who have worked with at Wal-Mart.
Legal experts were of the opinion that the court’s decision will not just make it harder to bring big, ambitious employment class-action cases asserting discrimination on sex, race or other factors. The court set higher barriers for bringing many types of nationwide class actions against a large company with many branches.
The court was of the opinion that if the lawyers brought a nationwide class action against an employer, they would have to show strong evidences of a nationwide practice or policy that hurt the class.
The court found that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that Wal-Mart had any nationwide policies or practices that discriminated against women.
Justice Antonin Scalia, noted that the Wal-Mart official corporate policy opposed discrimination, while the company gave the managers at its more than 3, 400 stores considerable discretion over pay and promotions.
According to a lawyer the court’s ruling will push plaintiff’s lawyers into filing fewer huge class actions and more cases on behalf of individuals or smaller groups.
According to Mr. Justice Scalia, it is unacceptable to allow employment discrimination lawsuits to proceed as a huge class action when monetary awards would be based on a broad formula per plaintiff, without having an individual assessment of how much each plaintiff has suffered.
Report by Sumit