The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear the largest workplace class action lawsuit in history in a sex bias claim against retail giant Wal-Mart that was filed by as many as 1.5 million female workers who claim the store did not pay and promote women in the same way it offered opportunities to their male counterparts.
The Court, led by Justice Roberts, which is inclined to slow or stop large lawsuits against business, will decide whether Wal-Mart must face a single lawsuit or individual actions. To be a class action there must be a common set of facts that affect the entire class. The women argue that Wal-Mart has a corporate culture that reserves management jobs for men. Wal-Mart alleges that each of its 3,400 stores has a different manager, therefore a different hiring, promoting, and firing style.
The decision to go forward as a class action puts pressure on Wal-Mart to settle rather than face a debilitating and potentially large jury verdict. There is no word in this story from The Los Angeles Times when the Court will hear the Wal-Mart action.
Florida Courts Protect Employers
In the case of a work-related injury, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a business is immune from wrongful death lawsuits if it did not intentionally harm an employee. In 2003, then-Gov. Bush and the Florida Legislature approved a standard that an employer can only be sued if it engaged in a conduct that it knew was “virtually certain” to lead to death or injury. The injured worker also had to prove the business tried to conceal the danger.
The Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Farah & Farah receive calls every week from people injured at work who may have a difficult time meeting that threshold. However, there are exceptions to this standard depending on the conduct of the employer, and we are available to meet with an injured worker or the family members of someone killed on the job to discover what that employee or their survivors are legally entitled to receive.