A U.S. District Judge in San Francisco has set Oct. 28 as the date that former Wal-Mart class-action plaintiffs must file new lawsuits, but the order applies only to those women who previously had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and received permission to sue for gender discrimination.

"We believe the October deadline will affect a very small number of women," explained plaintiff attorney Jocelyn Larkin. "The court agreed with us that there needed to be a consistent, common date that applies to all claims of former class members."

Other potential claimants who have yet to file with the EEOC have until next year to do so.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an ongoing class action lawsuit (Dukes v. Wal-Mart Inc.) potentially affecting 1.6 million female employees of Wal-Mart, so attorneys are now working on cobbling together smaller, more localized class-action efforts.