Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wall-Mart and the U.S. Supreme Court

“Too big to sue and too big to fail” No one likes to say that the U.S. Supreme Court is capable of making a serious error in judgment when it comes to their rulings. The U.S. Supreme Court is the court of last resort for our country, and their rulings are final say for any case brought before our legal system. We would hope that the justices on that court could put aside political agendas for the sake of protecting the American Society as a whole. Their roll has always been to protect minority classes that are unable to speak for and defend themselves.

In cases such as Brown v. Board of Education they upheld the rights for all citizens to get a fair and equal education no matter what the past practice. Our court understood that equal but separate did more harm than good to our society. We are now left to wonder that if Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had headed that court would we have seen the same results.

Women in general may outnumber men in this country but as a class it has been common knowledge that top jobs and top pay goes to the men in the corporate hierarchy. Just because everyone does it is not a valid excuse for discrimination of any type. The fact that one or two of our justices have publicly expressed the view that women are not equal to men, that they see nowhere in the constitution where women even have the right to be treated equally (“Equal Protection Doctrine,” Justice Scalia) and that it is perfectly acceptable for women to be treated as sex objects (I can see why you keep your mouth jammed shut, Justice Thomas) is shameful in our day and time.

When it comes to the case of Wall-Mart v. Duke the courts ruled in favor of a huge corporation at the expense of low income and often minority women; women who face the reality that they have no right to fair and balanced treatment in this country due to their sex and their race.

The courts clear conservative stand with a split between the conservative elderly white male justices and the women justices of the court (We understand that you are the exception and we respect you greatly, Justice Breyer.) only served to point out their inability to understand the discrimination these women faced in the business world. The “boys will be boys attitude,” and that it is perfectly “OK” in the view of the U.S. Supreme Court for them to act in that manner as long as a piece of paper states otherwise is a clear message to Corporate America.

The message is that Corporate America is free to commit open discrimination against women, and far too often minority women, as long as they have documentation stating otherwise. Not that they have to create policies and procedures that force their male employees to follow the rules stated in that documentation, or that there is any adverse effects to their careers if they don’t following the rules. Of course enforcing the rules would help, but with no negative consequences to the corporation as a whole; why even bother?

The fact that these Corporations have billions of dollars and are willing to appeal until they reach the U.S. Supreme Court which is sure to side with the Corporations on these types of issue gives low income and often minorities female employees no hope of fighting claims on a individual bases.

Since the highest court in the land does not like large class action lawsuits; perhaps it is time for our legislators to get to work to change the laws which would allow women to receive large settlements from these types of cases. So lawyers would be willing to spend the time and money to litigate individual cases. The incentive would be that lawyers would get paid fairly in the end for their service should they be able to prove the complaints.