Stat of the day: 1.6m

The number of Wal-Mart employees involved in the biggest sex discrimination case to be brought against an employer, which was dismissed yesterday.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
When is a sex discrimination case not a sex discrimination case? When it involves 1.6m litigants, apparently. The biggest case in history has been rejected by the US Supreme Court, after it decided the case was ‘too big’ to bring to trial. 

It’s been 10 years since a handful of women started legal action against American retail giant Wal-Mart for gender bias. They said women who worked for the company earned less and encountered ‘gender stereotyping’ when it came to promotion. Within a couple of years the case grew to involve 1.6m women.  

No doubt Wal-Mart will breathe a sigh of relief that it’s avoided shelling out the billions of dollars in damages it would have had to pay if it had it been found guilty. But critics have said the decision will make it more difficult in the future for those mounting large-scale bias claims against a huge company.

The Court added that individuals can still pursue their own cases. Two have vowed to continue the fight:  ‘all I have to say is when I go back to work tomorrow, I'm going to let them know we are still fighting,’ said one.

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