(CN) – The 9th Circuit granted Wal-Mart a rehearing to determine whether a gender-discrimination lawsuit should proceed as individual claims instead of a class action.
A three-judge panel had voted 2-1 to affirm the certification of a class of about 1.5 million female employees who accused the retail giant of paying them less and promoting them less frequently than their male counterparts. The plaintiffs cited the fact that about two-thirds of Wal-Mart employees are women, but only about one-third of its managers are female.
Judge Pregerson said the plaintiffs offered “significant proof of a corporate policy of discrimination” supporting their gender-discrimination claim.
In the dissenting opinion, Judge Kleinfeld argued that class certification deprived Wal-Mart of due process.
“This case poses a considerable risk of enriching undeserving class members and counsel, but depriving thousands of women actually injured by sex discrimination of their just due,” Kleinfeld added.
The federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that Dukes v. Wal-Mart should be heard by an 11-judge panel, but did not set a hearing date.