AAUW Applauds Recent Decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

September 25, 2012


Katie Broendel, broendelk@aauw.org

Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org


AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund-Supported Pay Equity Case Receives Green Light

WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) applauds the latest development in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart case. A federal court has given the plaintiffs in the California-based lawsuit the green light to proceed with their gender discrimination class action against the retailer. AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund has provided case support to the plaintiffs since January 2011.

In rejecting Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss the case, Judge Charles R. Breyer, of the U.S. District Court for Northern California, upheld the plaintiffs’ right to proceed as a class and present evidence that Wal-Mart and its subsidiary, Sam’s Club, discriminated against its California region female workers in pay and promotion.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the amended class action, filed in U.S. district court in October 2011, is in full compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s new guidelines for class actions in employment and discrimination cases. Those guidelines arose from the court’s June 2011 decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Breyer set a hearing for February 15, 2013, on the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.

“AAUW is pleased that this case will be able to move forward. The plaintiffs have had a long journey, and it’s heartening to think that their fight hasn’t been for naught,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “As we saw with the latest census numbers, pay equity remains a huge issue for women and their families. AAUW stands behind these women as they demonstrate that discrimination is not good for anyone’s financial health.”

Plaintiffs’ counsel Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, adds: “The women of Wal-Mart have been waiting for more than a decade for their day in court. Sex discrimination in pay and promotion hurts lives and families. We applaud the decision giving our clients the green light to prove their claims.”

AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund support has been crucial to the success of many gender discrimination cases during its 31-year history. The case-support program provides financial and organizational backing for lawsuits that have the potential to set significant precedents for gender equity. The funds come directly from the generous contributions of AAUW members. Other LAF initiatives include community and campus outreach programs, an Online Resource Library with downloadable advocacy tools, a Legal Referral Network, and research reports.


By:   |   September 25, 2012