Wal-Mart's Female Employees File Suit In Tennessee

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Wal-Mart employees in Tennessee say the company pays and promotes men ahead of women. Some of those women filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court Tuesday. It's the first of several planned lawsuits.


Some other news. Women who work for Wal-Mart - the world's largest retail chain - continue to make claims they get paid less and are not promoted as often as men. Current and former Wal-Mart employees have now filed a court case in Tennessee.

As Blake Farmer of member station WPLN reports.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Three women are named. Attorney Scott Tift says each has a first-hand account of discrimination.

SCOTT TIFT: Some women who've filed charges in Tennessee are assistant managers who at times, shockingly, have seen people working under their supervision who are men with similar experience that are being paid more than they are being paid as their supervisor.

FARMER: The federal lawsuit asks that thousands of Wal-Mart associates going back to 1998 should be included as part of the class-action litigation.

The Supreme Court ruled against a nationwide lawsuit last year, in part because the women didn't have enough in common to constitute a class.

Washington D.C. civil rights attorney Joseph Sellers represented the women in that case and is helping lawyers around the country brings more regionalized lawsuits.

JOSEPH SELLERS: We are now in the 11th year of the pendency of first the original national class and now these smaller classes, and we've yet to have any ruling on the merits of the underlying claims of discrimination.

FARMER: All along, Wal-Mart has said it has strong internal controls to prevent discrimination. Spokesman Randy Hargrove says Wal-Mart is a great place for women to work.

RANDY HARGROVE: The claims made by the plaintiffs don't match the positive experience that so many other women have had at Wal-Mart.

FARMER: However, more lawsuits are expected to be filed as soon as this week.

For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer in Nashville.

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