Supreme Court Hears Wal-Mart Gender Bias Case

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Wal-Mart is making its case Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court in a gender bias suit, the largest class action employment lawsuit in U.S. history.
    
An estimated 1.6 million former and current female employees are suing the retail giant over alleged gender bias in pay and promotions.

Joseph Sellars, an attorney for one the plaintiffs, told CNN there is a "corporate culture" at Wal-Mart that treats female personnel like second-class employees.  

He added that the company's "strong, centralized structure fosters or facilitates gender stereotyping and discrimination," which trickles down to individual stores.

"The store managers don't make up their own pay and promotion policy -- they follow a common set of policies that are established by headquarters in Arkansas," Sellars said. "There is extensive oversight of the decisions they make."
    
Should the high court allow the case to move forward, it could cost Wal-Mart tens of billions of dollars.
     
Wal-Mart argued that the suit includes too many women from too many different positions in its thousands of stores. The retailer said these claims should be heard individually not a whole.

"The plaintiff's lawyers in this case went way too far," Wal-Mart attorney Theodore Boutrous told CNN. It's the way the plaintiffs have framed the case, implicating every store, every person. There's no way, one woman can be representative of a million women in a case like this."

"The danger is that it would expose virtually every company in America to huge, costly, baseless class actions that's bad for jobs, bad for the economy, and at the end of day it doesn't help the people on behalf the case is being brought," he concluded.

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