Late last month, over one million female employees from more than 3,000 Walmart branches presented their class-action lawsuit against America’s largest private employer to the nation’s highest court. The women allege rampant and widespread sex discrimination by the retail giant, including unequal pay.
At issue now in the Supreme Court is whether a lower court ruling was right in allowing the women to file their lawsuit as a group—and the result could have major implications for class certification standards across the board. Now these employees must wait for the court to decide if they can face Walmart collectively or are required to file as individuals, an arrangement most of the plaintiffs say they can’t afford.
But regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, one thing is clear: gender-based discrimination is far too common, and at Walmart alone it’s robbing hundreds of thousands of women of the pay they should have earned. Fortunately, there’s something women in all workplaces can do to ensure fair pay. Women in unions earn over 11 percent more than their non-union counterparts. Belonging to a union gives women a seat at the table and a necessary opportunity to make their voices heard with their employers and on the job.