Family Dollar v. Scott
A group of female store managers sued their employer, retail chain Family Dollar Stores, Inc., for employment and pay discrimination in violation of federal law. After the Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the plaintiffs sought to amend their complaint to expand on the class-action allegations in their initial complaint regarding Family Dollar’s centralized decisionmaking. Specifically, the plaintiffs’ proposed amended complaint pointed out, among other things, that discrimination resulted from Family Dollar’s policy of basing store managers’ salaries on past salaries (thereby perpetuating the effects of past discrimination), and the company’s policy of paying laterally-hired store managers (a group alleged to be predominately male) more than those who obtained the position by promotion (a group alleged to be predominately female). The district court dismissed the class allegations in the original complaint and denied leave to amend. The court of appeals agreed that the class could not be certified based on the original complaint but held that the district court erred in denying leave to amend because plaintiffs’ proposed amended complaint alleged specific company-wide policies and decisions made at corporate headquarters that resulted in discrimination. Family Dollar petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case. In May 2014, Public Citizen filed the brief in opposition defending the employees’ right to amend their complaint and seek class-action status for discrimination claims based on company-wide policies and decisions made at corporate headquarters. In June 2014, the Court denied the petition.