Legal Advocacy Fund
LAF Supports Plaintiffs in Wal-Mart Lawsuit
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June, 2011 that the Wal-Mart v. Dukes sex discrimination class-action lawsuit was too big to move forward, the lawyers representing the women vowed to create smaller class actions by region. Yesterday, the lawyers filed the first of these amended lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart’s discriminatory practices affected more than 90,000 women currently or formerly employed at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in four regions in California and nearby states. Betty Dukes, a California resident, is the lead plaintiff, just as she was for the larger lawsuit.
AAUW first provided support to the lead plaintiffs in Wal-Mart v. Dukes January, 2011 through the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund. In September, the AAUW board voted to disburse more funds to defray costs involved in creating smaller class-action lawsuits. AAUW will continue supporting the lawyers and plaintiffs as they seek justice for all women workers at Wal-Mart stores.
AAUW Receives Cy Pres Award
You already know that AAUW does great work to fight gender discrimination, but it’s always nice when others acknowledge it, too. AAUW was recently honored to receive a cy pres award of $23,500 as part of the judgment in the largest gender discrimination case to ever go to trial. A cy pres award is a mechanism for distributing funds to charitable organizations that promote the interests of the class and that typically conduct activities to discourage the behavior penalized in the case.
The class action lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation included approximately 5,600 women sales force employees who claimed gender discrimination based on pay, promotion, and pregnancy. A jury found Novartis liable for gender discrimination in May 2010, and the subsequent settlement to allocate award funds to the plaintiffs was filed in federal court in New York in July 2010. Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for Eastern New York approved the final settlement agreement in November. It is an honor for AAUW’s work to fight gender discrimination to be recognized by this award. We will use it to support our mission to advance equity for women and girls.
Evvie Currie Giving Circle
Thanks to the Evvie Currie Campus Outreach Giving Circle, the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch held a February 4th event on dating violence and campus sexual assault at the State University of New York, Buffalo. And in March, the AAUW Westchester (NY) Branch will hold a $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop at Westchester Community College. Three more LAF campus outreach events will take place in April and May, so be sure to visit the AAUW blog to read about them.