The biggest business case of the year is taking shape: The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a class-action lawsuit representing over 1.5 million female employees of Walmart who allege that the retail giant, the nation's largest employer, discriminates against women by paying them lower wages and denying opportunities for promotion. The high court won't be deciding on the facts of the case, it will rule on whether it is appropriate for a large group of employees to join a single lawsuit over a complaint as sensitive as sex discrimination. But that question could be as important as the discrimination claims themselves, as the decision will side with either business groups, who complain that class-action suits force settlements even if the claims are false, and civil rights groups, which say joint action is the best way to end discriminatory practices.
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