Wal–Mart Stores, Inc. v Dukes Ruling Extended to Hiring

In May 2013, the Sixth Circuit decided in Davis v Cintas Corp that the class certification denial was proper and dismissed the plaintiff’s individual disparate treatment claim. The case was a nationwide sex discrimination class action brought against Cintas Corporation by female applicants who were not hired for entry-level sales representative jobs.

The sales representative job was a typically male dominated position. In 2003, Cintas implemented a new hiring system. Davis alleges the hiring practices lead to gender discrimination and violated Title VII and that she herself had been subjected to disparate treatment. The case was consolidated with another pending case for pretrial proceedings and the plaintiff in both cases made a joint motion to certify as a class representing females denied employment for the sales representative job. The District Court denied the motion for class certification because of differences among hiring managers at different locations.

In Davis v. Cintas Corp., the Sixth Circuit found that Davis could not establish the required commonality element for establishing a class as Davis argued that the discrimination was the result of individual hiring manager preference and not objective criteria in the nationwide hiring process. Additionally, they found the method used by Davis to calculate back pay relief was individualized. In making its decision, the Sixth Circuit relied exclusively on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and the “Wal-Mart Framework”. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes covered pay and promotion in employment class claims. The Sixth Circuit has extended that to pre-employment hiring class claims.

Reprinted with permission from the Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington.



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