The Scalia Class Action Lawsuit and Walmart’s Sexual Harassment Policy

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In a recent article, we covered the Scalia vs. Wal-Mart case and Lissa Medeiros’ 20-year career as a retail giant. We also discussed Walmart’s policy against discrimination. This article also discusses Walmart’s policy regarding sexual harassment and a Physical ability test as part of its application process for order fillers. Read on to learn more about the case and what the implications are for Walmart.

Scalia vs. Wal-Mart

The majority of the Supreme Court recently rejected the class-action lawsuit filed by two female employees against Wal-Mart for gender discrimination. The plaintiffs had failed to show any evidence of discrimination, including a company-wide evaluation system. But in a 5-4 decision, Justice Antonin Scalia said that the plaintiffs’ claims were nevertheless “substantial.” Despite the lack of a corporate policy against discrimination, they presented statistics showing significant pay and promotion differences between men and women in Wal-Mart.

The decision by the justices was not a surprise. As the nation’s largest private employer, Wal-Mart had figured out how to discriminate against women on a large scale. But the justices’ decision is not final. The ruling is likely to affect the future of class-action lawsuits against large corporations. As of the date of this writing, no class of Wal-Mart employees will be able to bring a similar case against other large companies.

Lissa Medeiros’ 20-year career at Wal-Mart

In the lawsuit against Walmart, long-time employee Lissa Medeiros claims that her gender was a factor in her treatment in the workplace. According to Walmart, this conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and she has filed suit under that statute. The case has been set for oral argument on April 6, 2021. Walmart’s motion for summary judgment is denied because Medeiros failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination and cannot show a genuine issue of material fact.

The plaintiffs’ arguments focus on the disparate treatment Medeiros received during her 20-year career with Wal-Mart. Specifically, she points to two instances during which she received “Exceeds Expectations” ratings. The second instance involves a pay discrepancy, which she claims reflected the same gender bias. In addition, Medeiros has detailed the underlying reasons for her treatment.

Physical ability test as a requirement for order filler applicants

In a recent settlement, Walmart agreed to pay $20 million and stop using physical ability tests for order filler applicants. The company agreed to take steps to address the complaints brought by women and men about the test’s disparate impact. The test required applicants to demonstrate that they can lift and carry a certain amount of weight. It also excluded female applicants because women cannot lift as much weight as men can.

The settlement also requires Walmart to discontinue its use of physical ability tests for hiring and pay $20 million into a fund that compensates women who were denied a job due to the testing. The agreement also requires the company to show that the tests are relevant to the job and consistent with business necessities. To demonstrate compliance with EEOC rules, Walmart must maintain detailed records of candidate test results and explain why they are disproportionately higher among members of protected groups.

Walmart’s policy against discrimination

The EEOC called on Walmart to settle this lawsuit to make a “just resolution,” which could include a settlement or a cultural shift. While Hargrove may be right that women have good experiences at Walmart, this doesn’t mean that all female employees are free from the effects of gender bias. Walmart must act now to make gender equality a priority. Let’s look at some of the reasons why Walmart should address gender discrimination.

Bielby’s testimony centered on Wal-Mart’s corporate culture and personnel practices. Her testimony aimed to answer the question of whether or not Wal-Mart has a policy of inherent gender discrimination. Ultimately, the court found that Bielby’s testimony failed the Daubert gatekeeping standard, indicating that her expert testimony was not scientifically sound. The lawsuit filed by two women, both women and men, did not prove that Wal-Mart had gender discrimination policies.

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