Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Giant Wal-Mart Bias Case

March 29, 2011 ( – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing arguments in a class action gender bias suit against Wal-Mart that could involve up to 1.5 million women employees, the Associated Press reports.

In particular, the justices will be considering whether it is proper to allow a large number of plaintiffs spread around the country to sue together under anti-discrimination laws for money damages (see High Court to Hear Giant Wal-Mart Class Action). Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Betty Dukes, et al. (No 10-277) involves allegations the giant retailer was biased against women in salary and promotion opportunities.  

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court decided in April 2010 that women who have worked at Wal-Mart since 2001 should be permitted to move forward as a group to press their allegations the retailer paid women less than men for the same work and gave females fewer promotional opportunities.  

According to the AP, the women suing Wal-Mart say the company would have no reason to change its practices if it succeeds in forcing them to sue individually.  

Wal-Mart denies any discrimination.