The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear Walmart's appeal of the largest employment class-action suit on record, in which up to 1.5 million current and former female employees are seeking billions of dollars in compensation for pay discrimination. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals narrowly approved the class action earlier this year, and the high court will decide if the case can proceed to trial, or if grouping so many women from different stores and job levels is unfair and unworkable. What are the chances Walmart just dodged a very big, very expensive bullet? (Watch a Bloomberg discussion about the case)
This is a huge win for Walmart — and other corporations: The Supreme Court just gave Walmart "a wonderful holiday gift," says Andrew Cohen in Politics Daily. The trial delay already helps Walmart, but if the court's "conservative majority" uses the case to "end class-action litigation as we have known it for decades," it will be a gift that "will keep on giving" for Walmart, and "every other large corporation that's accused in court of widespread wrongdoing."
"Christmas comes early for Walmart"
Walmart may just be putting off the inevitable: Walmart's appeal is "a delaying tactic," says Kit Eaton in Fast Company. And while "only legal eagles" can make educated guesses, the outcome "doesn't look good" for Walmart. Even if the justices side with company, Walmart "could still face thousands upon thousands of individual cases," which will keep the retail giant in court for years.
"Walmart in Supreme Court appeal for... sex bias case"
Both outcomes will have dire consequences: The high court's willingness to hear the appeal already constitutes "a step back for the women involved," says Jenna Goudreau in Forbes, which will only be more devastating if the court disallows the suit. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court lets the suit move forward, it will be "a public relations nightmare" for Walmart, and leave other corporations highly vulnerable.
"Supreme Court takes a step back"