Following a recent ACS event on Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the class action employment discrimination before the Supreme Court, law professor Suzette Malveaux talked with ACSblog about the stakes involved in the case.
“What makes Wal-Mart such a big case, an important case is not so much its size, but really the impact it might have on other types of class actions, and in particular employment discrimination class actions,” Malveaux, an associate professor of law at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, said.
Malveaux, author of a new article in the Harvard Law & Policy Review, the official journal of ACS, said an adverse ruling against the Wal-Mart plaintiffs could create significant hurdles for others in bringing class action litigation against big businesses.
Malveaux said her article “addresses one of the primary questions before the Supreme Court, and that’s whether or not the plaintiffs in this case could get monetary relief for the discrimination that they suffered; they are challenging systemic, company-wide policy, but they are also seeking monetary relief.”
She continued, “And the Court is going to be looking at whether that is appropriate. And that is important because employees will often seek monetary relief as well trying to get the systemic discrimination policy to end, they also want to get back pay, they want to get monetary relief for the discrimination. So the Court is going to be looking at what’s he proper standard for allowing the case to go forward as a class action. And there’s a real risk that that standard might go up. And if that standard goes up, it is going to make it much more difficult for employees and consumers and many people with small claims and few resources to collectively come together and challenge systemic discrimination.”
Watch the professor’s interview below or download the podcast of it here.