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The discount superstore Wal-Mart will face the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history. A federal appeals court in San Francisco voted to allow the sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart to move forward as a class-action case as of Monday. Furthermore, not only is the case the largest in sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history, it may also cost Wal-Mart billions in damages.

The case began in 2001 with six female employees alleging that Wal-Mart systematically paid female workers less than male workers, gave them smaller raises, and also denied them opportunities for promotions. According to a Reuters report, the women were purposefully steered away from management positions into lower-level jobs without advancement potential. Moreover, according to a New York Times report, Wal-Mart does skew in favor of male managers: female managers represent only 33% of the company’s managers, but represent 65% of the hourly work force.

Overall, more than 1 million women could be involved in the case, after the 6-5 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court on Monday. Nevertheless, Wal-Mart has already announced plans that it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court—elevating the case to an even larger stage—a move that could prove either extremely detrimental or beneficial to Wal-Mart’s image.

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