WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's ruling this week blocking a class-action gender-discrimination suit against Wal-Mart could thwart a similar suit against Costco Wholesale Corp., reports said.
In the Wal-Mart case, the nation's top court found that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate that a discriminatory culture predominated throughout the company, even though Wal-Mart’s policy of leaving personnel matters to store managers' discretion might have resulted in individual cases of discrimination.
That finding could cause the Costco case — filed in 2004 and representing a much smaller class of female employees — to be dismissed, according to a Bloomberg news report this week. The case had been on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision in the Wal-Mart case, which was seeking to represent about 1.5 million current and former female workers at various levels of the company.
The suit against Costco is seeking to represent "less than 1,000" women, the Bloomberg report said, and alleges that the wholesale club discriminated by failing to post certain managerial positions in an effort to limit female advancement at the company.