NT Lakis lawyers have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case alleging sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, arguing that a federal trial court ruled correctly in refusing to certify a class of thousands of female employees whose only connection was that their managers were given discretion to make individual pay and promotion decisions.

As our brief in Moussouris v. Microsoft Corp. points out, the case bears a strong resemblance to the 2011 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, where the Court held that the plaintiffs there – who alleged a pattern of systemic sex discrimination in pay and promotions across various positions and by different supervisors at thousands of Wal-Mart stores – could not satisfy federal “commonality” requirements for bringing a class action.

Here, a female engineering worker and a female IT worker claimed that they, and a proposed class of more than 8,600 others, were discriminated against in pay and promotion decisions because of their gender. Specifically, they said that managers, using discretion granted by their employer, made decisions that “systematically undervalued” female employees. The plaintiffs sought class certification even though different managers made pay and promotion decisions at different times and for different reasons.

We argue that by refusing to certify the proposed class, the trial court properly applied Dukes’ rationale that merely giving discretion to managers is not enough to satisfy the rigorous rules for maintaining a class action.

A copy of our brief is available here.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.