A couple of years ago, in Dukes et al. v. Wal-Mart, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California certified a class of female employees against Wal-Mart. The case was noteworthy because it is a nationwide class action in which the plaintiffs claim Wal-Mart discriminates against pretty much all of its female employees in setting compensation and promotion decisions. The class size was estimated at 1.5 million workers, and was defined as “All women employed at any Wal-Mart domestic retail store at any time since December 26, 1998, who have been or may be subjected to Wal-Mart’s challenged pay and management track promotions policies and practices.”
Wal-Mart appealed the class certification order. The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in August 2005, and finally issued its opinion today. A three judge panel voted 2-1 to affirm the district court’s decision. Barring settlement or a successful decertification of the class, the huge class action against Walmart will proceed to trial at some point in the future.