This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.
Decided Jun 20, 2011
Case Ruling: WAL-MART v. DUKES
The plaintiffs were certified as a class by the district court in their suit against Wal-Mart, on behalf of 1.5 million female employees, seeking punitive damages and backpay owing to Wal-Mart's alleged discrimination against them in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
HELD: Delivered by SCALIA; joined by ROBERTS, KENNEDY, THOMAS & ALITOThe certification of the class was inappropriate. Class certification requires proof that a class of persons have suffered the same injury by a general policy of discrimination. Wal-Mart's corporate policy forbids discrimination, and the plaintiff's only evidence of a general policy of discrimination is a sociologist's analysis asserting that Wal-Mart's corporate culture made it vulnerable to gender bias. Since the expert testified he could not estimate what percent of Wal-Mart employment decisions might be determined by stereotypical thinking, his testimony was not significant proof.
That Wal-Mart gave local supervisors discretion over employment matters did not show that a central direction to use that discretion in a discriminatory manner. The claims for backpay were improperly added onto a class provision that allows only equitable relief, not monetary relief.
DISSENTED: GINSBURG concurs in part, dissents in part; joined by BREYER, SOTOMAYOR & KAGANI agree this class should not have been certified, but such a class might have proper under Rule 23(b)(3) seeking money damages. The Court should not have ruled on the class at this time, but rather remanded the issue for consideration and decision. The district court found evidence that 70% of hourly employees are female, but only 33% of managers. That, with other evidence, could support a common question, necessary for the resolution of all class members' cases, that corporate culture and lack of formal standards or training for employment decisions may have led to discrimination.
Participating counts on VoteMatch question 2.
Question 2: Legally require hiring women & minorities
Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
- Topic: Civil Rights
- Headline: Sociological analysis insufficient to prove gender bias
- Headline 2: Women under-represented as managers enough for gender bias
- Key for participation codes:
- Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
- Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
- Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
- Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
- Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.
participating in 11-WALMART
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