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Walmart and its more than 20 corporate supporters, including Bank of America, Microsoft, Intel, FedEx, and General Electric are claiming victory after the US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, threw out what would have been the largest sex discrimination class action lawsuit in US history.
Dr Richard Drogin, the plaintiff's statistical expert, found that across the country, women employees are paid less than men in virtually every job.
Akin Gump, a law firm hired by Walmart in 1995, found that men were five and a half times as likely as women to be promoted into salaried management positions, yet the company ignored advice to take remedial steps and continued its practices.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the four dissenters, pointed out that women fill 70 per cent of hourly jobs, but make up only 33 per cent of management employees. She acknowledged that the "plaintiffs' evidence, including class members' tales of their own experiences, suggests that gender bias suffused Walmart's company culture".
When a female employee with five years at Walmart and a Master's Degree asked her department manager why her pay was less than that of a just-hired 17-year-old boy, the manager said: "You don't have the right equipment. You aren't male, so you can't expect to be paid the same."