Debra Katz Recalls the Significance of Betty Dukes in Law360 Interview

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was interviewed by Law360 in light of the recent passing of pioneering plaintiff Betty Dukes, whose highly publicized class action against her employer, Wal-Mart, was a watershed moment in the fight for gender equality in employee compensation. The article, which published on July 19, is titled, “Dukes’ Pioneering Pay Lawsuit Leaves Lasting Legacy.”

Dukes passed away on July 10 at the age of 67. Her landmark class action case, which spanned 15 years, alleged that Wal-Mart had a policy of management-controlled promotions and raises that led to systemic workplace bias against female employees. At the time, it was the largest sex discrimination case in U.S. history, with a class certification of 1.5 million female employees. However, that class certification was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2011. In 2016, Dukes and a handful of other individual plaintiffs reached a nondisclosed settlement with the company.

Commenting on the case, Katz told Law360, “The thing that was so crucial about the case was that it brought forth in graphic detail the plight of low-wage female workers.”

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