Wal-Mart Asks Supreme Court To Toss Bias Suit

A class-action lawsuit filed by six women in 2001 alleges Wal-Mart pays women less than men for the same jobs. It also alleges that female employees receive fewer promotions. An appeals court ruled in April that the case should move forward.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to throw out a massive class action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination over pay for female workers.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer is the world's largest private employer and could face billions of dollars in damages if the lawsuit is heard and it loses.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April that Wal-Mart should face charges in court that it pays women less than men for the same jobs.

The lawsuit was first filed by six women in federal court in 2001. They also allege that female employees receive fewer promotions and have to wait longer for those promotions.

The suit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, is the largest civil rights class action in history. It seeks redress for more than 1.5 million women employed by Wal-Mart since December 1998. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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