3 Tennessee women accuse Wal-Mart of discrimination

3 Tennessee women accuse Wal-Mart of discrimination

October 3rd, 2012 by Associated Press in Business Around the Region



Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Three Tennessee women sued Wal-Mart Inc. on Tuesday claiming they lost pay and promotion opportunities because of their gender.

The Barrett Johnston law firm said the suit is the third of its kind against Wal-Mart in the country in the past year.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company has strong policies banning discrimination.

In 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out a class action lawsuit representing 1.6 million women who worked at Wal-Mart on the grounds that their allegations were too varied to show the company engaged in a specific nationwide pattern and practice of gender bias. Since then, litigation attorneys have been pursuing cases on a regional basis.

The latest represents three women who each worked for Wal-Mart for more than 10 years and seeks class-action status to cover current and former female employees at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi.

Cheryl Phipps of Covington and Shawn Gibbons, of Cookeville, Tenn., claim they were denied management training and were paid less than men.

Bobbie Millner, of Jackson, Tenn., claims that she inadvertently got the paycheck of a fellow assistant manager with less experience and found that he earned thousands of dollars more per year than she did.

She said a Wal-Mart manager told her "men needed to earn more."

Hargrove cited the previous Supreme Court decision in responding to the Tennessee lawsuit.

"As we have said all along, these claims are unsuitable for class treatment because the individual situations are so different and because the claims of these three people are not representative of the hundreds of thousands of women who work at Wal-Mart."

In a statement, Phipps said, "Many of us have waited more than a decade to have our day in court to fight for the pay and advancement opportunities that we rightly deserved."