By  on March 28, 2012

WASHINGTON — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is continuing its vigorous defense against allegations of discrimination stemming from charges leveled by Betty Dukes, and joined by a group of former and current female employees, who have filed charges with the Equal Opportunity Commission and two separate complaints in district courts in California and Texas seeking class-action status.

Attorneys representing the women said in February that more than 500 current and former female employees of Wal-Mart from five states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina — had filed the charges with the EEOC.

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The action followed a protracted battle between a group of female employees and the retail giant, beginning in 2001 with a gender discrimination lawsuit regarding pay and promotion that received class-action status in 2004 from the U.S. District Court in Northern California. The case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in Wal-Mart’s favor last June, reversing the district court’s ruling, saying the case could not advance as a class action because the plaintiffs did not meet the critical legal standard of commonality.

The attorneys in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Supreme Court case subsequently filed an amended complaint in the district court in October that largely encompasses Wal-Mart’s regional stores in California and an estimated 95,000 current and former employees who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores from December 1998 to the present. A second complaint seeking class-action certification for another group of women in Texas was filed in a district court in that state.

“First, we continue to believe that anyone with a legitimate claim should have their day in court,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said in February. “I would also point out that these claims have never been heard on their merits…The truth is, Wal-Mart is a great place for women to work. We are ready to defend our record because it is a record we are proud of.”

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