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US retail giant Wal-Mart was thrown a temporary lifeline last week (Friday 13 August) as a court gave it permission to appeal against a class action order granted in June.
The class action, the largest ever to be certified against a private employer, was filed on behalf of 1.6m former and current female employees of Wal-Mart and subsidiary Sam’s Club.
Seven women are leading the claim, which is known as Dukes v Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The lead plaintiff is Betty Dukes, a Californian Wal-Mart employee who claims she was denied promotion and equal pay by the company.
Following last week’s decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Wal-Mart can now file an appeal against the class action certification. The appeal has been expedited, and if the class action is allowed the case should go to trial next year.
Lead counsel for the plaintiffs are Washington DC class action boutique Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll and a Californian non-profit group, the Impact Fund. Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker is representing Wal-Mart.