The importance of business law is to establish guidelines or rules for what is acceptable and
what is not acceptable when forming and running a business. Business laws are a framework for
how a business should act and operate; they set the standards, maintain the rules, resolve disputes
and protect rights. Violations of laws can lead to chaos, conflicts, fines and serious harm to a
person, group or the environment.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (10-277)
In the case of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. versus Dukes, many female Wal-Mart employees
including Duke have sued the company for gender bias, in accordance with The Civil Rights
Act; and they petitioned for a class action lawsuit for back pay. The women claim they receive
less compensation and fewer opportunities for advancement than the male employees, and they
blame Wal-Mart’s corporate culture and business structure as the bases for the discrimination.
This case considers whether the women are entitled to back pay and if class action is the proper
legal route (Cornell University Law School, LII, n.d.).
Disagreements between the Parties
According to the lawsuit, Wal-Mart challenges the class action’s validity because their
claims did not involve common fact or issues, and were not adequate to represent the class as
whole, since they are not typical situations faced by Wal-Mart female employees. Wal-Mart
also argues that asking for monetary relief in the form of back pay is unsuitable. The women
argue that a class action lawsuit would be more prudent than multiple individual ones; and
that the class shares a common interest because they are all subjected to the same policies as
employees. This decision by The Supreme Court is important because it will significantly impact
the requirements for launching class action suits, how discrimination disputes are resolved by
organizations and their employees, and effects the way organizations will make company- wide
decisions (Cornell University Law School, LII, n.d.).
Ruling of the Court
Case Law Analysis: Judicial Concepts 3
The lawsuit stated the ruling was in favor of Wal-Mart. The discrimination resulted from
individual decisions of many different managers due to lack of uniformity, because Wal-Mart
had no formal policy of discrimination; and the inability of the plaintiffs to have a common set of
discrimination principles followed by Wal-Mart managers. “The plaintiffs held a multitude of
different jobs, levels, lengths of times, managers, were employed in different stores and states,
with different regional policies. They have little in common but their sex and this lawsuit”
(FinnLaw, 2013). The ruling further explained the plaintiffs wish to “sue about literally millions
of employment decisions at once” (Oyez, Inc., 2011). In regards to back pay, the ruling was that
Wal-Mart is entitled to individualized determinations of each employee’s eligibility for back pay.
(FinnLaw, 2013). (FinnLaw, 2013).
The judicial concepts that influenced the decision were a majority opinion, a 5-4 ruling, a
concurring opinion, in regards to wording, and a dissenting opinion in regards to dissimilarities
and generalizing on what distinguishes individual class members, rather than what unites them
(FinnLaw, 2013). This lawsuit had claims of discrimination and gender bias in regards to The
Civil Rights Act and Equal Opportunity Act. Lastly, there were the bylaws of the corporation
introduced and examined.
I do agree with the court’s decision. I do understand how employees in a class action lawsuit
must have the same injuries or complaints and suffer the same harm or losses. However, if Wal-
Mart, promotes the same code of ethics nation- wide; why aren’t their managers better trained
in diversity, in particular gender bias? Individual store managers may have the flexibility of pay
scales and promotions; but a code of ethics is a corporate policy and sets the guidelines for the
corporate behavior, base on their values, principals and morals.