No stranger to labor disputes or the courtroom, Wal-Mart has now been hit with a class-action gender bias lawsuit affecting as many as 1.5 million female employees.

In a close ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco voted 6 to 5 to certify class-action status. Wal-Mart immediately said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.

The lawsuit was originally filed in June 2001, and its class-action certification has been hotly contested ever since. Wal-Mart now has 90 days to get the Supreme Court to reconsider the Circuit Court’s ruling, which the company described as being "sharply divided."

In 2008, the Bentonville, Arkansas, retailer settled a slew of class actions for $640 million and recently agreed to another $12-million settlement for discrimination at a single warehouse.

Employers of all sizes should be aware of renewed liability for gender-bias wage lawsuits following the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation President Obama ever signed, which extended the statute of limitations far beyond what it used to be.

To be informed, safe and compliant with the new standards, get yourself a copy today of Personnel Concepts’ Fair Pay Discrimination Compliance Kit.