In a move to protect their right to pursue individual and class-action pay and promotion claims against Walmart Stores Inc., more than 500 former and current Walmart women employees who had been part of a national class-action lawsuit have filed a charge of discrimination against the retailer with the U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as of Jan. 27.
That was the deadline for women in five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina—to pursue their claims, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys Joseph Sellers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, and Brad Seligman, the Impact Fund, who represent the women. The vast majority of the EEOC charges—some 430—were filed in those states since the June 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing a lower court ruling certifying class action against Walmart. Women in all other states who previously filed class action claims against Walmart, and its subsidiary Sam’s Club, have until May 25 to file a claim with the EEOC.
“The Supreme Court did not give Walmart a free pass to discriminate. Filing an EEOC claim is one more way current and former women employees of Walmart can assert their rights,” Sellers and Seligman said in a statement.
More than 12,000 women have contacted plaintiffs’ counsel directly or through the informational website, www.walmartclass.com, to discuss pursuing claims of gender-based pay and promotion discrimination. Even in the five states with the Jan. 27 filing deadline, women with pay and promotion discrimination charges against Walmart from July 2011-on can file EEOC claims against the company.
“These EEOC charges are just the down-payment—we expect to file thousands of additional charges by the May 25, 2012, deadline. We urge women throughout the country who feel they have been discriminated against by Walmart in pay and promotions to log onto the www.walmartclass.com site and register,” said Seligman.
Regional class-action lawsuits on behalf of women plaintiffs who worked in California and Texas region Walmart stores were filed in federal courts in those states in October. An expanded class-action was filed in Texas federal court last month.