Monday, March 28, 2011

Wal Mart's Women's Day in Court

"I'm not going after them because they are big,
 I'm going after them because they are wrong"
~ Plaintiff Christine Kwapnoski

Yes indeed! 10 years in the making Wal Mart corporation has to defend itself to the Supreme Court in the world's largest sex discrimination case.  Wal Mart is accused of paying women in the US less than men for the same work, and of passing them over for promotions. 
What the Supreme Court will decide is if it will be allowed to go forward as a Class-action lawsuit. 

WalMart would love to win this case, setting the precedent that corporations are too big to be accountable. 

This will be a landmark case:

Columbia University law professor John Coffee said that the high court could bring a virtual end to employment discrimination class actions filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, depending on how it decides the Wal-Mart case.

I can't tell you how glad I am we have  three women seated on the high court--Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kegan as well as Clinton appointee Breyer ,
because Alito,  Thomas, Roberts, & Kennedy tend to think corporations are people, and you get the impression this is how they view the Constitution:

Speaking of corporations, look at what other corporations are chiming in, to cover their asses, in support of allowing corporations to discriminate:

Other companies including Bank of America(BAC_)Microsoft(MSFT_) andGeneral Electric(GE_) have filed court papers in support of Wal-Mart. These companies contest that allowing the lawsuit to move forward will open the floodgates to employment, antitrust and product-liability suits.
The U.S. Chambers of Commerce also sided with Wal-Mart saying in a filing: "Employment cases are just the tip of the iceberg." If the suit is allowed to move forward, according to the Chamber, it "would bury American businesses in abusive class-action lawsuits to the detriment of consumers, the U.S. economy and the judicial system itself."

Wow! Class Action lawsuits against discrimination are detrimental to consumers!
Because everyone knows consumers favor discrimination?
If the majority of the corporate ass kissing Supremes deny the class action lawsuit, 
then employees can sue Wal Mart individually. 
Thank you to the Christine Kwapnoski's & Betty Dukes of this world, for taking a stand against a corporate Goliath. Yes, even in the 21st century, woman continue to fight for equal rights. 

Working Class heroes!  In solidarity, I have great respect for the Women who had the courage to stand up to this huge corporation.  Christine- let's hope no employer ever feels comfortable with the Men making more than women and getting promoted faster. Thanks to you, let's hope any employer will think twice before saying to a woman  "doll up" or "blow the cobwebs off" her make-up.
You have rocked the corporate world & stand for so 
many women who continue to be discriminated against. 


Christopher said...

As US wages fall and gas prices now stand at $4 a gallon, people will shop at Wal Mart because they can't afford to shop anywhere else.

It's either $1.89 for Crest at Wal Mart or $2.39 at Safeway.

People don't have a choice.

Fran said...

I understand people need to stretch their dwindling dollars by shopping in this kind of big box store. WalMart had $405 billion dollars in sales, in 2010.
The problem lies in the exploitative practices it uses to widen the profit margin.
Historically, Wal Mart has had lawsuits in hiring illegal/ undocumented workers, as well as shady practices - demanding workers to work overtime, but off the clock- not paying overtime.

"I was saying I want to do something more, but for whatever reason I kept getting overlooked for team leader positions," she said. "They kept hiring men off the street. Literally, I don't even know where they came from, whether they came from college, men who never even had a day's worth of Sam's Club experience were coming in and I was the one training them."
Kwapnoski, 46, began working at Sam's Club retail warehouse -- part of the Wal-Mart brand -- in 1986, eventually relocating to a store in Concord, California. By 2000 she was the longest-tenured hourly employee at the store, but claims she was being paid "virtually the same" as male associates with half her experience. She was eventually promoted in 2001, two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, and remains at the company.

The plaintiff's lawyer Joseph Sellers says there is a "corporate culture" at Wal-Mart, where female associates are treated as second-class employees, and 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," he said. "There is extensive oversight of the decisions they make."

Christopher said...

One of the reasons I detested the Borg Queen in the 2008 Democratic primary was her background as a lawyer representing Wal Mart in its effort to destroy unions.

The Hillbots cooed about "electing the first woman president," and I said absolutely, it's time.

Just not Hillary.

Fran said...

Hillary would probably have us in even MORE wars!
Yet I thought the fact she chose to be a corporate lawyer & Obama was a constitutional lawyer was a significant difference.
Since then, Obama seems to have run the Constitution through the shredder.