The Wal-Mart Discrimination Case- Part 2 - Page 2
“A future ruling by the Supreme Court is apt to be a transformational event in standards for certifying employment discrimination class actions. Look for the Supreme Court to give employers and the class action bar a roadmap for certification standards. This is the big one that will set the standards for all other class actions.”
The class action suit was created under a provision that limits remedies to corrective court orders, not money. So it will be interesting to see if under Federal court Rule 23, a lawsuit may seek a money verdict, or might still proceed under a different part of Rule 23 — part (b)(3), which does allow money claims.
Wal-Mart’s petition had raised a broader argument that no class should have been approved at all, since the claims made by the women employees were so disparate and so diffuse that they really had nothing in common, and that, as a result, Wal-Mart would not have been able to mount a defense to such claims.
The petition by Wal-Mart to the Supreme Court involves the following points:
• Whether claims for monetary relief can be certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b) (2).
• Under what circumstances, if positive.
• Whether the order certifying a class conforms to the requirements of Title VII, the Due Process Clause, the Seventh Amendment, the Rules Enabling Act, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
The Supreme Court accepted to review the monetary relief point only.
This issue is very critical as it relates directly to exposure, leverage, and tipping points for employers subject to a class action. The answer to the issue of certification of punitive damages claims in employment discrimination class actions is what is of significance here.
So far the courts required to demonstrate the individual harm before granting punitive damages in a class action suit. In this case, it must be related to the financial harm suffered by individual plaintiffs.
In conclusion, no matter what decision the Supreme Courts will take, the same old way of doing business, hiring processes, promotions, testing, ranking of employees, and pay practices by employers will have to be examined very vigilantly to apply the rules and guidelines of Title VII for discrimination by employees who are affected by a quota system based on their protected status.
Diversity starts at Home,