In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes,131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), the Supreme Court de-certified the nationwide sex discrimination class action brought against Wal-Mart by up to 2 million of its present and former female employees. The class complaint alleged systematic discrimination in wages and other terms and conditions of employment. The Supreme Court's decision was unanimous in holding that the class's backpay claims could not be certified under Rule 23(b)(2) -- one of the class action rule's non-opt-out subdivisions -- and 5-to-4 in holding that the class's discrimination claims did present a common question of law or fact as required by Rule 23(a)(2).
The plaintiffs are not giving up. As explained on the Wal-Mart Class Website, some of the plaintiffs have filed regional class actions in California and Texas. Moreover, 500 women have filed individual charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (all of which could end up in court), with more EEOC charges expected.