The Supreme Court dismissed the largest-ever employment discrimination case yesterday, a big win for the plaintiff, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The decision in favor of the nation's biggest employer will do more than impose new limits on class-action suits against large organizations -- it will make it much harder for employees to change workplace culture by banding together.
The court decided that claims of gender bias in pay and promotions on behalf of as many as 1.5 million female workers could not be packaged into a single lawsuit. There was no proof of a "companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy," Justice Antonin Scalia said.
The court's four liberal members agreed with some of the ruling but dissented on other points. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that both statistics and individual anecdotes indicate a prevalent gender bias in Wal-Mart's corporate culture, noting that senior management often refer to female associates as "little Janie Qs."
The case could have amounted to billions of dollars of charges for Wal-Mart and included women in 170 kinds of jobs across 3,400 stores. The court made no ruling about whether individual claims of discrimination were valid. But the days of huge discrimination suits on behalf of many employees may be numbered. (FINS, WSJ)
Johnson Steps in at J.C. Penney (FINS via Dow Jones)
J.C. Penney Co. announced its succession plan for Apple Inc. retail chief Ron Johnson to take full control of the department-store chain by Feb. 1.
Greeting Cards to Get Hip (WSJ)
With fewer people buying greeting cards, American Greetings Corp. is trying to attract younger buyers with a new line that features sarcasm and hipster references.
Another One Bites the Dust (FINS via Dow Jones)
Brian Wallace, vice president of digital marketing and media at Research in Motion Ltd., has jumped ship, leaving RIM for competitor Samsung Electronics Co. Wallace is the most recent exec to leave the company.
Publicis Builds Overseas (Bloomberg)
Publicis Group said it has agreed to buy the largest public relations network in China as the advertising company builds presence in emerging markets.
PepsiCo Reorganizes (Ad Age)
PepsiCo Inc. execs are "baffled" by structural changes that include the addition of three new positions after CMO Jill Beraud announced she was leaving the consumer-goods company.
Bravo's Summer Camp (NYT)
Bravo Media will bring back its "Summer by Bravo" promotional campaign this year. The network is getting together about 20 of its personalities to boost summer ratings after the project's success last summer.
Buzz Around the Office
Honesty Sells (Imgur)
Birds have feathers, while "brids" have reduced prices.
List of the Day: Ways to Improve Your Resume
1. Get specific about your background and skills.
2. Include measurable results.
3. Focus on yourself, not your last company.
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