The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes was appropriate, SHRM has told a key U.S. Senate committee.
The June 20 ruling reversed a federal appeals court decision that certified what some said could have been the largest class action in U.S. history, involving allegations of sex discrimination at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The Supreme Court ruled that the class of female plaintiffs failed to satisfy the commonality standard under Rule 23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Further, it said the plaintiffs' claims for potentially billions of dollars of relief in back pay were improperly certified under Rule 23(b)(2).
SHRM supported the ruling in a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been scrutinizing the Court’s recent business-related decisions. The letter said, “The Supreme Court properly prevented private employers of all sizes from being subjected to a barrage of costly and unavoidable class actions.” Joining SHRM on the letter were the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Restaurant Association, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.