Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in the largest discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history today. The plaintiffs hope to represent over a million women that have been passed over for promotion, pay raise and other benefits in favor of their male colleagues by your favorite evil corporation and mine: Walmart.
Christine Kwapnowski, one of the plaintiffs told the BBC in an interview that when she asked what she should do to get promoted, she was told to "doll up and blow the cobwebs off [her] make-up." Source
The case began in 2001 after Kwapnowski became fed up with being passed over for promotions and pay raises. According to Kwapnowski, Wal-Mart was "hiring men off the street...men who never even had a day's worth of Sam's Club experience were coming in and I was the one training them." These men would then become her team leader. Two weeks after she filed the first suit, Kwapnowski was finally and magically recognized by the company and promoted Source. She found women who shared her story and extended the suit to include all women who have worked in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. assets since December, 1998.
The good news for the women is they've won the lawsuit at both the district and appellate levels. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has appealed on the grounds that the class certification does not meet requirements. To translate that legalese, Walmart is arguing the case doesn't apply all its female employees, not that it doesn't discriminate at all. Source
In the effort of full disclosure, I have never worked for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., nor have I actually been inside of a Wal-Mart store of any sort, but I am a woman. And as a woman and a reasonable human being, I support Kwapnowski and the other plaintiffs in their efforts. Maybe they will take the megacorporation down a notch, but I doubt it. This is not the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth time Wal-Mart was awful, and I guarantee it won't be the last. This is just another one of company's attempts to kick people down, hoping they won't fight back.
Here's to pushing back and not taking no for an answer! I wish the plaintiffs and everyone involved (except, you know, Walmart) good luck. The decision should be returned in late June.