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Odle’s gender bias suit against Wal-Mart continues

Accusations of gender bias have followed Wal-Mart Stores for years culminating in the 2011 class action lawsuit — Dukes versus Wal-Mart Stores. After several years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court decertified the Dukes class of 1.5 million women in June 2011.

"Every one of the five regional class action claims filed following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dukes have failed to move forward.” said Wal-Mart corporate spokesman Randy Hargrove.

The most recent of those class denials was handed down this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit — Love versus Wal-Mart Stores.

The Florida appeals court, “ has denied the plaintiffs’ petition for an interlocutory appeal of the district court’s dismissal of the class claims. We’ve said all along that if someone believes they’ve been treated unfairly, they deserve to have their timely, individual claims heard in court,” Hargrove said.

Another claimant, Stephanie Odle, of Norman, Okla., got court approval to proceed with her individual case against the retail giant. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on March 31 allows this case to move forward.

Odle told The Dallas Morning News following Monday’s decision that this has been a 15-year battle. Her lawsuit claims that she was unjustly fired and replaces by a man, who wanted to transfer into her position while working at Sam’s Club in Lubbock, Texas.

Wal-Mart moved to dismiss Odle’s case, on the basis that time had lapsed beyond limits in the law. The U.S. District Court in Dallas granted Wal-Mart’s motion and dismissed Odle’s claim. But, Odle appealed, and on Monday, the appeals court said the district court should rehear her case.

Hargrove said the appeals court decision a procedural step that allows the case to go forward on an individual basis.

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‘We’ve said all along that if someone believes they’ve been treated unfairly, they deserve to have their individual claims heard in court. The allegations in this case just don’t match the positive experiences that hundreds of thousands of women have had working at Walmart.”

He said Wal-Mart has a strong policy against discrimination, and is are proud of the opportunities it provides for women to work and advance.

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