Wal-Mart lawsuit gets class action status

(June 23, 2004) - (San Francisco-AP) -- A federal judge in California says a gender discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart can be expanded to a class-action with one-point-six million plaintiffs. If the case goes forward, it will be the largest class-action suit in history. U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco granted class-action status yesterday after months of hearings. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams says the Bentonville-based retail giant will appeal, but doesn't believe Jenkins' decision had anything to do with the merits of Wal-Mart's case. The lawsuit was originally brought by six women who alleged Wal-Mart promotes and pays men more than women. At its shareholders meeting earlier this month, Wal-Mart promised to promote the same percentage of women as the ratio of women who apply.