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Wal-Mart's gender bias case: What's at stake?

By Elizabeth G. Olson

"The Institute for Women's Policy Research submitted a report called "Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope" to the justices that notes that about two-thirds of all employment-discrimination related class action settlements in the past decade wound up requiring companies to set objective and transparent criteria for job assignments and promotions.

Most settlements also require companies to commit to open posting of job vacancies, perform analysis of its promotion and compensation decisions for potential sex or race bias and hold supervisors accountable for preventing discrimination.

"'Having good human resource management and diversity policies is important, yet our study shows that, without clear measurement, policies alone do little to prevent bias and discrimination in the workplace,'" writes Ariane Hegewisch, lead author of the study."

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