(Madison, WI) Nichols Kaster, PLLP, filed a class action complaint against the giant retailer on behalf of five Wisconsin women in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin yesterday. The complaint – Ladik, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., – charges that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. discriminated against female employees in retail stores throughout its Region 14, which includes stores in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The complaint seeks an end to Wal-Mart’s discriminatory practices regarding the pay and promotion of female employees in stores throughout the region.
Ladik, et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the fifth regional discrimination case lodged against Wal-Mart since the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2011 reversed a lower court ruling on the national class action against the retailer and issued new guidelines for class actions and Title VII Civil Rights Act employment discrimination cases. In October 2011, two regional complaints were filed – Dukes, et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas. In October 2012, another two regional complaints were filed including Phipps, et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville and Love, et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. While the California case, Dukes, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is proceeding, “we hope that this case provides a venue for Wal-Mart to have to address the merits of their treatment of women in the workplace outside California,” said Jim Kaster of Nichols Kaster, PLLP, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While other non-California courts have been troubled by the issue of whether a class can be timely filed based on allegations going back to the beginning of the Dukes case, we believe that persuasive authority in the Seventh Circuit will allow tolling.
The named plaintiffs in the Region 14 case are Sandra Ladik, of Montello, Wisconsin, employed by Wal-Mart for approximately 14 years; Penny Perkins, of Rock County, Wisconsin, employed by Wal-Mart for approximately 11 years; Jackie Goebel of Kenosha County, Wisconsin, a Wal-Mart employee since 1988; Marie Coggins of Rock County, Wisconsin, employed by Wal-Mart for approximately 14 years, over three separate time periods; and Sondra Steeb-Lamb of Sauk County, Wisconsin, employed by Wal-Mart for approximately 8 years.
As the complaint outlines, women at Wal-Mart were told by management that women deserved less pay and fewer promotions than men because men had families to support.
Evidence in the case shows that female employees of Wal-Mart retail stores, excluding Pharmacists and Managers at Store Manager level and above, were denied equal opportunities for promotion, and equal pay. The class action asserts that Wal-Mart fosters a work environment that actively discriminates against women and management has failed to take action to prevent gender disparities. These practices permeated stores throughout the region.
“Wal-Mart has been successful in making technical legal arguments preventing courts from reaching the merits of womens’ claims, and we expect more of these arguments here. Nevertheless, we hope that the court in Wisconsin will, after this long period of waiting, finally allow their claims to be heard by a jury,” said Jim Kaster of Nichols Kaster, PLLP.
For more information contact Nichols Kaster at (877) 448-0492 or visit www.walmartclass.com.
Ladik, et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Case No. 3:13-cv-00123-bbc) – Plaintiffs are represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP of Minneapolis, MN, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC of Washington, D.C., and the Impact Fund of Berkley, CA.