Economics Report - A Big Ruling for Wal-Mart in Sex-Discrimination Case
经济报道 - 沃尔玛逃过大规模性别歧视集体诉讼
This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
In the American legal system, people generally bring civil claims as individuals. But if a lot of people have similar claims, they may try to bring a class action lawsuit.
Michael Dorf is a law professor at Cornell University.
MICHAEL DORF: "A class action is a procedural device under US law that allows a large group of people to bring their individual claims together as a group."
But groups need permission to bring a class action, and that can be denied. That happened this week to a million and a half current and former employees of America's largest private employer. The women accuse Wal-Mart of discriminating against female employees in its stores. But the United States Supreme Court voted to block a huge class action against Wal-Mart in federal court.
The women were seeking billions of dollars. They say men were offered more jobs and more chances to move up in the company. They accuse Wal-Mart of violating part of a federal law, the Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty-four.
|Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, June 21, 2011, to protest the court's Wal-Mart sex discrimination class action lawsuit decision|
The case started about ten years ago. A federal district court in California agreed that the case could go forward as a class action. Wal-Mart again lost in a federal appeals court. But on Monday Wal-Mart won its appeal in the nation's highest court.
Professor Dorf -- who was not involved in the case -- says the justices disagreed about whether there was a "common question."
MICHAEL DORF: "A common question, according to the court, is the sort of question which the plaintiffs can prove and thereby go a long way to winning the case."
He says most of the justices found that Wal-Mart was not being accused of one kind of discrimination or one policy, but many different acts.
MICHAEL DORF: "The key to being able to bring a class action here and the issue that divided our Supreme Court was whether all of these different claims -- by over a million people -- had enough in common to justify a single class action.”
Wal-Mart has a policy barring discrimination. But the women accused the company of unfair policies and permitting bad behavior by some store managers.
The court was divided five to four in its ruling. Yet all nine justices agreed that the case could not go forward. The women needed to meet additional legal requirements because they were seeking payment for harm they say was done. All the justices agreed these requirements had not been met.
Boston University law professor Michael Harper says the decision was widely expected. He says the class action failed because it did not target a single action or policy by Wal-Mart. But the ruling does not bar the women from bringing individual cases. They can also seek class actions at the state level.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. I’m Mario Ritter.
例句：a lawsuit over a disputed estate
3.generally adv.一般地, 通常, 大体上, 广泛地, 普遍地
例句：We generally go to the sea for our holidays.
I generally stay at home in the evening and am not at home on Saturday evening.
例句：A snowdrift blocked his path.
to block a legislation
例句：She is the plaintiff in the suit.
7.justify vt.证明…有理; 为…辩护
例句：He tried to justify his absence with lame excuses.
1.They say men were offered more jobs and more chances to move up in the company.
move up(使)升级, 提升
例句：He has moved very rapidly up.
Dr. Smith was moved up from an associate to a full professorship.
2.A common question, according to the court, is the sort of question which the plaintiffs can prove and thereby go a long way to winning the case.
go a long way大有帮助
例句：It will go a long way towards success.
3.Yet all nine justices agreed that the case could not go forward.
I have failed, yet I shall try again. 我失败了，但我还要尝试。
The judge was stern, yet completely fair. 法官很严峻，却完全公正。
They are the same, yet not the same. 它们又一样，又不一样。
It is strange, yet it is true. 那真是怪事，然而却是事实。
I’ve been away only for three years, yet I can hardly recognize my hometown. 我仅在外三年，可我几乎认不出我自己的故乡了。
He said he was our friend, yet he wouldn’t help us. 他说他是我们的朋友，但却不肯帮助我们。
4.But the ruling does not bar the women from bringing individual cases.
例句：The members voted to bar women from the club.