December 15, 2011 Articles

Post-Dukes: Employment Class and Collective Action Decisions

Courts are now reviewing the merits of putative class claims when evaluating class certification motions and requiring plaintiffs to narrowly tailor their proposed class.

John A. Ybarra and Michael A. Wilder – December 15, 2011

On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court fundamentally changed the certification analysis for large class actions. In a much-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court, in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukeset al., 564 U.S. ___ (2011), reversed the Ninth Circuit’s certification of a nationwide class of approximately 1.5 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees who alleged sex discrimination based on pay and promotions. In its decision, the Supreme Court raised the bar for plaintiffs seeking class certification, provided employers with a tool to fight class certification, and left appellate and district courts with the task of applying the Supreme Court’s post-Dukes standard.

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