WASHINGTON — A group of current and former female employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. filed a discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Tuesday, alleging gender discrimination and seeking class-action status.
The new complaint in Tennessee covers 116 stores in Tennessee and also includes stores in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi, according to court documents.
“We are proud to represent these courageous women who are standing up for thousands of their fellow workers to fight back against Wal-Mart’s discriminatory employment practices with respect to pay and promotions,” said David Garrison, an attorney with the law firm Barrett Johnston, which represents the three female plaintiffs named in the complaint.
The gender bias lawsuit marks the third regional complaint filed in federal court against the retail giant, following two cases filed in district courts in California and Texas, which are also seeking class-action status. In a separate action, more than 2,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees have also filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, leveling the same charges against the retailer.
The action is the latest twist in a protracted legal battle between groups of female employees and Wal-Mart, which began with a discrimination lawsuit regarding pay and promotion in 2001 and eventually wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 as the Dukes v. Wal-Mart case.
The High Court ruled in Wal-Mart’s favor last year, reversing a ruling and class certification by the U.S. District Court in Northern California. In the majority opinion, the justices argued the case could not advance as a class action because the plaintiffs did not meet the critical legal standard of commonality.
“The class the plaintiffs now allege is no more appropriate than the class the Supreme Court has already rejected,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said. “Wal-Mart has strong policies against discrimination. As we have said all along these claims are unsuitable for class treatment because the situation of the individuals is so different and because the claims of these three [plaintiffs] are not representative of the hundreds of thousands of women who work at Wal-Mart.”
Since the Supreme Court determination, attorneys representing what they claim are tens of thousands of former and current employees have filed the three federal discrimination lawsuits and EEOC complaints against Wal-Mart.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast