The United States Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in the long-simmering Wal-Mart sex discrimination lawsuit tomorrow morning (March 29, 2011).

The nine justices will weigh whether the class action certification in the case of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes is justified under federal rules.

Wal-Mart is arguing that monetary relief, as opposed to injunctive relief, is not available under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The justices, however, have indicated that they will take a broader look to determine if the class action status is justified at all.

The original lawsuit was filed by six female employees in 2001, alleging both pay and promotion discrimination based on gender. In short, they alleged that male employees at Wal-Mart are not only paid more but also are promoted more frequently and rapidly. In 2004, a federal district court granted class action status, which was later affirmed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Overall, discrimination filings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are on the rise and now comprise the greatest number of complaints each year.

Employers, protect yourselves with the proper workplace policies and practices. Visit the Harassment and Discrimination section on Personnel Concepts' Web site today to find the help and solutions you need.