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Female Wal-Mart employees file new suit in California

October 27, 2011 |  6:31 pm

Wal-Mart

A few months after the Supreme Court tossed out a massive class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., women who say they faced discrimination from the world's biggest retailer filed an amended suit in California.

The lawsuit, announced Thursday, narrows the scope of the lawsuit from all female employees who are working or have worked for Wal-Mart and its Sam's Club warehouse stores (about 1.5 million people) to just those in California (about 90,000), Reuters reported.

The suit alleges that the company systematically discriminated against its women workers, denying them promotions, pay bumps and other work advances because of their gender, the report said.

Attorneys for the plaintiff said at a news briefing that the California action would be the first suit of several to come in the next half-year.

"We are beginning with the locales where the evidence of discrimination is strongest," lawyer Joseph Sellers said, according to Reuters.

When the Supreme Court ruled in June to throw out the huge class-action lawsuit, it did not make a decision on whether women had been discriminated against. Instead, it determined that the plaintiffs in the case, spanning a multitude of jobs in thousands of stores nationwide, were not similar enough to be combined into one suit. But that left the door open for smaller, more targeted complaints against the company.

Theodore Boutrous Jr., attorney for Wal-Mart, said in a statement that the suit depends on arguments that the Supreme Court had already dismissed.

"The Supreme Court rejected these very same class-action theories when it reversed the plaintiffs' lawyers' last effort in June," he said.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: A shopper outside a Wal-Mart store in Rosemead. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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