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Dukes v. Wal-Mart: A Discussion of the Supreme Court Decision

11 Jun 2011 1:27 PM | Emily Smith (Administrator)

Listen (Duration: 50:40)

On June 29, Michael LeRoy was one of two guests on the University of Illinois' public radio show, Focus 580, on the Dukes v. Walmart Supreme Court Decision. The other interviewee was Professor Lesley Wexler, a University of Illinois law professor.

Dukes v. Wal-mart Stores Inc. was a long-running sexual-discrimination class-action case that began in 2000. The plaintif was Betty Dukes, a 54 year-old California Wal-Mart worker, was joined by 1.5 million other female Wal-Mart employees who felt they had been discriminated against, denied promotions and earned less than their male counterparts.

The case made its way through the courts. On Dec. 6, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Wal-Mart v. Dukes appeal. On June 20, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in Wal-Mart's favor because the plaintiffs who joined Dukes in the class-action suit were too diverse a group to constitute a class.

LeRoy begins the interview by asking "why do comparably qualified women make only 80 percent of what a man makes? Then, the question for the court is to disintangle is the broad and still poorly understood effects of sexual discrimation with pay versus the employment plicies of Wal-Mart that lead to a pay disparity and promotion disparity."

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