Wal-Mart Sued in Florida by Women Claiming Discrimination

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the biggest U.S. retailer, was sued in Florida by 11 women who claim the company engages in gender-based discrimination, two days after a similar case was brought in Tennessee.

The complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, alleges that Wal-Mart denied the women equal pay and advancement opportunities. The plaintiffs are seeking cash compensation and a court order barring discrimination by the company. A federal case raising similar claims was brought in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 2.

Those cases and two in Dallas and San Francisco are being pursued after the U.S. Supreme Court last year rejected a bid by female Wal-Mart workers to sue as a single, national class.

“Our interviews with countless women have unveiled a shameful pattern of deliberate discrimination against female employees throughout the Southeast region,” Theodore J. Leopold, a lawyer for the Florida plaintiffs, said in a statement today.

His clients are suing on behalf of women employed in stores in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and part of Georgia, according to the statement.

“These cases are nothing more than recycled claims driven by the same plaintiffs’ lawyers whose arguments were considered and rejected by the Supreme Court,” Randy Hargrove, a spokesman for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, said today in a phone interview. The high court rejected the nationwide class action because of the individualized nature of the plaintiffs’ situations, he said.

The case is Love v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 12-cv-61959, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).

(Updates with attorney’s comment in fourth paragraph.)
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