Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc., 474 F.3d 1214 (9th Cir. 2007)

Plaintiffs in this Title VII class-action lawsuit alleged that women employed in Wal-Mart stores are paid less than men in comparable positions, despite having higher performance ratings and greater seniority, receive fewer promotions to instore management positions, and that those who are promoted must wait longer than their male counterparts to advance. The class, the largest ever certified in an employment case, includes over 1.5 million women who have been employed by Wal-Mart since 1998 at roughly 3,400 stores across the United States. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s order certifying the class with respect to plaintiffs’ equal pay and promotion claims, but denying certification on unmanageability grounds of that portion of the promotion claim seeking lost pay and punitive damages on behalf of class members for whom there were no data available about their interest in the challenged promotions. Compare Hall v. County of Los Angeles, 2007 WL 529963 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2007) (class action claims for gender-based wage discrimination in violation of the Equal Pay Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act were properly dismissed on summary judgment).