Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs sued Defendant for discriminating against female employees with discretionary pay and promotion practices. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief, and moved to certify the lawsuit as a class action.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The commonality requirement under Rule 23(a) requires convincing proof of at least one common question among members of the class action. Monetary relief is proper under Rule 23(b)(2) when it is incidental to injunctive or declaratory relief.
Merely showing that Wal-Mart's policy of discretion has produced an overall sex-based disparity does not suffice.View Full Point of Law
Three current and former female Wal-Mart employees (Plaintiffs) sued Wal-Mart (Defendant) for discrimination on the basis of sex. The women alleged the discretion given to local managers over pay and promotion disproportionately harms all female employees in gaining better pay and promotions. The Plaintiffs sought injunctive and monetary relief, and moved to certify the lawsuit as a class action representing approximately one and a half million female employees of Wal-Mart.
Has the Plaintiff met the requirements for a class action under Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(2)?
No, the Plaintiff has not met the requirements for a class action under Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(2). The lower court’s decision is reversed.
Justice Ginsburg agreed with the Court’s decision not to certify the class action under Rule 23(b)(2). But she believes the case should be remanded for the lower courts to determine whether the class action can be certified under Rule 23(b)(3).
The Court determined that the Plaintiffs did not meet the commonality requirement under Rule 23(a) because they did not prove that each female employee was discriminated against in the same way by local managers. Additionally, the Court rejected the Plaintiffs request for monetary relief under Rule 23(b)(2) because each member of the class action would be entitled to different injunctive and monetary relief.