Suit costs Wal-Mart on number of fronts

Creating the largest civil-rights case in history, a federal judge ruled that a discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart could proceed as a class action.

Creating the largest civil-rights case in history, a federal judge ruled that a discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart could proceed as a class action.

Many stories described unfair promotion and pay scales, but reports rarely discussed the impact of the suit on sales. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart stressed that the case had yet to go to trial and that the class-action status would lead to an unfair hearing. Journalists highlighted broader implications, speculating that other companies would scrutinize their own promotion and pay scales to avoid similar legal action. Most frequent messages 1. Wal-Mart accused of discriminating against female employees 2. The size of the class action is too large for Wal-Mart to fairly defend itself 3. The case will impact practices at other corporations 4. Wal-Mart has a new, objective system for promotion and pay raises 5. Other factors caused women to self-select out of promotions and higher salary jobs

Based on 31 US newspaper and magazine stories between June 23 and July 6, 2004 Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International

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