By Michael K. Browne, Assistant Director – Complaint Investigations
Are you a woman working (or who previously worked) for Wal-Mart, earning disproportional pay as male coworkers? Did you miss some of the nuisances of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v Dukes? Would like to see if you can join the class of women filing wage disparity claims against Wal-Mart? Well, now it your chance….
Due to a special District Court Decision (PDF) issued on August 19, 2011, potential class members in Minnesota, who have not already filed a charge in this matter, will be allowed to file a equal pay charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart by May 25, 2012. While the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights does not have jurisdiction to investigate claims against Wal-Mart because the store locations are outside the city limits of Minneapolis, the Department can still assist women (through our work share agreement) in filing a Complaint of Discrimination with the EEOC — the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws in the workplace decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v Dukes (PDF) .
What are the criteria for filing a complaint? Well, here’s crux of the women’s claim in the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v Dukes, 131S. Ct. 2541 (2011): it’s alleged that Wal-Mart had a corporate culture which institutionalized a bias against female employees. Since 1998, this bias resulted in differences in pay and promotions between women and men workers.
So far, the only issue discussed has been the sheer number of Plaintiffs involved in the one case. Wal-Mart believed the case to be too big so it appealed to the United States Supreme Court. On June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a decision, which put out of their reach a nationwide, class-action lawsuit over claims of sex bias in the company’s stores for over 1.5 million women who work now, or used to work, for the multinational discount retailer.
The Court did not rule on the merits of the claim; instead, it focused on the procedural question of whether the class-action met the requirement of “commonality” amongst the class of women. The Court decided that the women’s class-action lawsuit could not satisfy the standard because it included thousands of employment decisions from hundreds of manager in different geographical areas of the country. In other words, the Court found that the class-action lacked “some glue holding” its claims together.
After the U.S. Supreme Court decision, a district court issued the following order:
All former class members who have never filed an EEOC charge shall have … until May 25, 2012 to file charges with the EEOC …
That means if you have not filed a charge with the EEOC, but would like to, you can file it now and we will help you!
Call us today at (612) 673-3012.