The plaintiffs had provided statistical evidence that women earned less money and were promoted less often across the company. But Walmart argued there was no discrimination at the firm. Its lawyers argued that a class action representing women from across the country would imply a uniform policy of discrimination, but as individual managers made hiring and promoting decisions independently there was no class-action case to answer.
Slotnick added that large-scale class actions would now be far harder to bring against other companies, and that greater proof of system-wide discrimination would be needed before a major class-action lawsuit could be brought. Often such proof is only available after a case has been granted class-action status and the process of discovery – where lawyers can demand access to sensitive internal documents – begins.