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Bloomberg reports that while Walmart has pursued a legal strategy that “has managed to toss out allegations of pay discrimination brought by potentially thousands of women over the last decade,” mostly through a divide-and-conquer approach, it now “is being hit with a new round of individual pay bias lawsuits, alleging the same claims.”

“Since February 2019,” the story says, “at least 13 individual lawsuits have been brought against Walmart, symbolizing a strategy shift by lawyers who represent the employees making the allegations. More are on the way, according to Cohen Milstein partner Christine Webber, who is serving as a litigation quarterback of sorts.”

Bloomberg goes on: “Plaintiffs’ attorneys across several states are now getting creative, pursuing curated individual claims against Walmart, after the Supreme Court nixed a class of about 1.5 million women in 2011 and effectively blocked smaller regional class actions against the company with a June 2018 decision in an unrelated securities case.

“Most of those classes were shot down as courts questioned the timeliness of the claims or the certification requirements for each class. Walmart also settled with many of the named plaintiffs in the cases representing many workers.”

The current claims, according to the story, “which date back to 2001, are legally timely because of a procedural grace period; their statute of limitations was paused as the case made its way to the high court. Individual plaintiffs then filed their cases with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has been investigating the claims before issuing right-to-sue letters—a process required before workers can bring private litigation against an employer. Now, the lawsuits are being filed.”
KC's View:
Lots of smoke, and Walmart’s ongoing position seems to be that while there may be the occasional brushfire, there’s nothing bigger than that, nothing to really worry about.

While I understand Walmart’s legal strategy, I’ve always thought that it would’ve been nice to have at least one major class action against the company that would’ve created a fair and even playing field for the plaintiffs, to whom I am extremely sympathetic. It sounds now like the plaintiff community may have come up with a way to marshal their forces in a way that satisfies the courts but can continue to raise legitimate questions and challenge the status quo.