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Wal-Mart Loses Round 1

Wal Mart
A Wal-Mart in Bloomington Indiana (Photo by Jason Grote, flickr)

In 2001 a class action lawsuit was filed against Wal-Mart. The suit claims that Wal-Mart instituted a policy of gender bias in salary and hiring practices keeping women out of top managerial positions and paying them less than men working in the same position. The suit claims that these policies affected almost 1.5 million Wal-Mart employees . On Tuesday, February 7, a US District Court of Appeals voted 2-1 that the class action lawsuit could proceed with arguments against Wal-Mart and its alleged unfair wage and promotion practices.
This is a big win for women in the workforce. The latest research on the wage gap from IWPR shows that women still make about $0.77 to every man’s $1.00 for full-time year-round workers. IWPR also found that nationwide a higher proportion of women (35.5 percent) than men (28.9 percent) work in professional and managerial jobs. This statistic makes it even more disappointing that Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, seems to have a problem promoting women to achieve parity in management with men.
Renowned feminists such as Martha Burk have argued for years now that one of the best ways to assert and enforce equality in the workforce could be through class action lawsuits and other court actions. The courts have the authority to force businesses and other organizations to follow laws like the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which were put in place to guide the US toward equality in the workforce. The progression of the case represents another step toward equality for women.
- Elisabeth Crum

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