business news in context, analysis with attitude

As expected, the granting of class action status to a gender discrimination suit against Wal-Mart Stores, charging that the company systematically denies female employees compensation and promotion opportunities equal to those enjoyed by men, was given considerable attention by virtually every newspaper in the country this morning.

It was given considerable attention that the suit is the biggest civil rights action ever filed against a private company.

The decision means that the suit, originally filed in June 2001 on behalf of a half-dozen former and current female employees of the company, now could represent as many as 1.6 million women who have worked for Wal-Mart in the past or are presently employed by the company.

The judge made the ruling based on evidence that Wal-Mart’s hiring, pay and promotion policies were consistent across the country, and therefore the company could be held culpable on that basis. Wal-Mart is appealing the decision.
KC's View:
It was interesting to see the words “Wal-Mart” and “Martha Stewart” used in the same sentence so many times, as papers questioned whether the same sort of negative publicity that has hurt Stewart also could affect Wal-Mart.

We’re not sure they are the same, but it does suggest that Wal-Mart could be in for public relations nightmares that could dwarf its legal problems.