The Wal-Mart Class Action Case

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments for a class action case based on a 2001 suit filed on behalf of 7 women claiming discrimination in pay and employment practices at Wal-Mart. The case is the largest class action suit in history, representing 1.5 million female workers. Wal-Mart recently became a 2020 Women on Boards sponsor.  A strange bedfellow for an organization committed to gender diversity? Not really.

2020 Women on Boards is shining a consumer spotlight on the diversity performance of corporate America at the board level. Change starts with awareness and must be followed by action. 

Wal-Mart has a very clear diversity policy, spelled out on its website. It has won 37 awards and recognition for its commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion at all levels of the company.

In 1990, Hillary Clinton became Wal-Mart's first women director, after shareholders and founder Sam Walton's wife put pressure on the company to appoint a woman to its 15-member board. Today, Wal-Mart has 3 women directors, making it a 2020 “W” Company. African Americans and Latinos are also represented.  Wal-Mart has 6 women among its senior executive ranks, 17% of the company’s executive team. This year the National Association for Female Executives listed Wal-Mart among its Top 50 Companies for Executive Women.

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