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Wal-Mart Supreme Court Ruling May Not Affect Wage and Hour Claims

July 14, 2011

In last week's California employment lawyer blog, our Anaheim labor and employment attorneys reported on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that sided with Wal-Mart, after the retail giant appealed a California U.S. court of appeals decision in August of 2010 that would have allowed the ten year old gender discrimination lawsuit to include over 1.5 current and former female Wal-Mart employees across the country in a class action--to sue the retail giant for having a nationwide policy in place that allegedly led to gender discrimination.

A recent Reuters legal analysis claims that although Wal-Mart's victory could prove to be more difficult for employees, as it could limit how many employees can band together in class action lawsuits, other class-action lawsuits, especially those involving wage and hour claims, seem to have gained strength due to the ruling.

According the report, other employment disputes, including overtime and wage and hour claims , are gaining momentum since the Wal-Mart Supreme Court ruling, as judges have issued statements arguing that the Wal-Mart decision doesn't not apply to each case.

As our Anaheim employment lawyers have reported previously, the Wal-Mart case focused on whether 1.5 million former and current employees could be certified as a class action group. The Supreme Court decided that the women did not have enough in common as a group to join together and sue jointly, in their gender discrimination fight against Wal-Mart. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the workers will be required to sue as individuals, or in smaller groups.

Reuters reports that class actions involving wage and hour violations should not be affected by the ruling in the Wal-Mart case, as they cite legal arguments about state labor laws and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and are relatively small in comparison with the Wal-Mart group. The Wal-Mart case is reportedly expected to have more of an impact in other nationwide discrimination cases.

In one case decided after the Wal-Mart Ruling, a federal New York judge ruled that 600 Tyco employees could sue together on their wage and hour claims. In another case, a federal judge in Florida ruled in favor of over 700 Starbucks workers after the coffee giant tried to decertify their class action wage and hour lawsuit. The judge reportedly found that there was enough in common on the overtime disputes to justify keeping the class action members together.

In cities throughout Orange County, California and Southern California, contact our labor and employment lawyers at Howard Law, PC today.

Analysis: Wal-Mart ruling no knock-out blow for class actions, Reuters, July 12, 2011

High Court sides with Wal-Mart in sex bias suit, CBS News, June 20, 2011

Wal-Mart women vow to table discrimination suits in US courts, Business Report, June 22, 2011

Wal-Mart to argue sex-bias case in Supreme Court, Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2011, Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2011

Timeline: Chronology of Wal-Mart discrimination case, Reuters, March 22, 2011

Women take case against Wal-Mart to highest court, USA Today, March 28, 2011

Wal-Mart sex-bias base could have wide impact, MSNBC, March 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:

United States Department of Labor

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Related Blog Posts:

U.S. Supreme Court's Decision Sides with Wal-Mart in Sex Bias Discrimination Case, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 6, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Wal-mart Sex-Bias Discrimination Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, March 29, 2011

Supreme Court to Debate Class Action Certification of Wal-Mart Sex-Discrimination Case, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 13, 2010

Wal-Mart Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Class-Action Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Ruling, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 6, 2010

Wal-Mart Will Pay Up to $85 Million in Class Action Lawsuit Settlement, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 12, 2009