In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court considered a class action against Walmart that included over a million employees who claimed sex discrimination. The court said the employees didn’t have enough in common to band together in one lawsuit (Walmart v. Dukes).
Now federal courts are doing the same with much smaller class-action lawsuits—good news for employers.
Recent case: A class of 200 Chinese Daily News reporters working out of the paper’s California offices sued, alleging unpaid overtime and other wage-and-hour violations. On appeal, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the class certification in light of the Walmart decision and sent the case back to the trial judge, who will determine if the reporters’ legal claims are similar enough for a single trial. (Wang, et al., v. Chinese Daily News, et al., No. 08-555083, 9th Cir., 2013)