Walmart Company Statement Related to Order Denying Class Certification in Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Aug. 2, 2013 Today, Judge Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled in favor of Wal-Mart in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart gender-discrimination class action, denying the plaintiffs' request for certification of a California-based class.

Walmart is pleased that today’s ruling rejects the attempt of a few associates to turn their individual complaints into a sweeping and unwarranted class action. As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in 2012, these claims are unsuitable for class treatment because each individual’s situation is so different.  We’ve said all along that if someone believes they have been treated unfairly, they deserve to have their timely, individual claims heard in court.

Walmart has had a strong policy against discrimination in place for many years and we continue to be a great place for women to work and advance.  The allegations from these five plaintiffs are not representative of the positive experiences that hundreds of thousands of women have had working at Walmart. 

The district court issued a written opinion finding, upon a detailed analysis of the law and the evidence, that this case was unsuitable for class action treatment.  In his ruling, Judge Breyer noted that:

  • “…though Plaintiffs insist that they have presented an entirely different case from the one the Supreme Court rejected, in fact it is essentially a scaled-down version of the same case with new labels on old arguments.”
  • “Plaintiffs’ proposed class suffers from the same problems identified by the Supreme Court, but on a somewhat smaller scale. Indeed, it is revealing that there is no particular logic to the precise scope of the class Plaintiffs now propose. They picked three corporate regions covering a smaller area than the rejected national class, but nothing in Plaintiffs’ evidence shows that those three regions are actually different from any other Wal-Mart regions along any relevant dimension. Rather than identify an employment practice and define a class around it, Plaintiffs continue to challenge the discretionary decisions of hundreds of decision makers, while arbitrarily confining their proposed class to corporate regions that include stores in California, among other states.” 
  • “Moreover, as Plaintiffs themselves recognize, they have not amassed sufficient anecdotal evidence of bias and stereotyped thinking among management to establish significant proof of a general policy of discrimination within any management group, “top” or otherwise. 
  • “Ultimately, Plaintiffs' numbers are not much stronger than they were when they failed to carry the day at the Supreme Court. They have not identified statistically significant disparities in even a majority of the relevant decision units in any region across the challenged pay and promotion decisions.”