Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Impact of Dukes v. Wal-Mart

Betty Dukes
The United States Supreme Court decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart is imminent.  This new, brief video by the Rosenberg Foundation (featuring my friend and former colleague, Arcelia Hurtado, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates) highlights the positive impact of this historic lawsuit  -- the largest civil rights class action in U.S. history. The video explores the use of impact litigation as a tool for effecting change, and features interviews with the attorneys and women at the center of the case.

Viewing litigation as an essential advocacy tool in the work to change the odds for Californians, the Rosenberg Foundation historically has invested in cutting edge impact litigation efforts. In 2001, the Foundation made a first in a series of grants and program-related investments in support of Dukes, when six current and former female retail store employees of Wal-Mart filed the class action lawsuit. With a class comprised of nearly two million women, the lawsuit alleges gender discrimination in pay and promotions by the largest private employer in the country.

Led by Foundation grant partners Equal Rights Advocates (based in San Francisco) and the Impact Fund (based in Berkeley, Calif.), along with three private law firms, Dukes v. Wal-Mart has progressed successfully through lower courts. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in March 2011, and its decision on whether to uphold class certification is due this month.


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