Introduction: Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., as a case, is almost as expansive as its defendant. For nearly the past ten years, the world has watched as Betty Dukes and six other women representing female Wal-Mart workers have sued the new Goliath for discriminating against women in its pay and promotion policies. Although employment class actions tend not to make the popular headlines, this is far from an ordinary case: it has been publicized by The Nation’s Liza Featherstone and political activists like Wal-Mart Watch. As initially certified by the district court, the class members included approximately 1.5 million women, which effectively turned the class into a Goliath of its own. Yet, it’s the class-certification process working this transformative magic that’s at the heart of the current controversy in Dukes.