On December 6, 2010, the United States Supreme Court granted Wal-Mart’s petition for certiorari, agreeing to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision [pdf] to permit certification of a class of 500,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  This litigation, which has been ongoing for nearly a decade, alleges sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the retailer’s female employees with respect to pay, promotion and job assignments. The plaintiffs originally sought to represent a class of approximately 1.5 million female employees, and much of the litigation to date has involved the propriety of certificating such a large class under the standards of FRCP 23.  

For a discussion of the class action issues on appeal on their relevance to employers, click over to the thoughtful analysis of our colleague, Mark Batten.