One-Woman Army

Bringing Down Walmart

The woman who once dreamed of turning her life around through hard work and promotion into Walmart corporate management is now the first “named plaintiff” in a sexual-bias class-action lawsuit against the mega-corporation. Betty Dukes, 60, began as a part-time cashier in 1994, making $5 an hour, and now works as a “greeter”—welcoming customers who enter her Pittsburg, California, store. Yet the ordained Baptist minister has recently transcended her post to one of human-rights hero: “Her dual roles have turned her into a civil-rights crusader for the company's many critics, who have dubbed the legal battle "Betty v. Goliath,” reports MSNBC. Five years after joining the company, a conflict with her managers, a demotion, and a pay cut led Dukes to pursue the class-action suit representing potentially 1 million former and current female employees, in what could become the largest lawsuit of its kind in U.S. history. "I was focused on Walmart's aggressive customer service," Dukes told MSNBC. "I wanted to advance. I wanted to make that money." Walmart has claimed that any instances of gender discrimination that may have occurred are isolated events and not a universal company policy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other organizations have requested that the complaint be dismissed.