Lawyers for women employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced the filing of a revised discrimination lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco today on behalf of an estimated 95,000 women workers in California.

The amended lawsuit, filed by five women, seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of current and former female employees who worked at the company’s more than 200 stores in California since 1998.

It claims that Wal-Mart systematically discriminated against women in pay and promotion.

The filing comes in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that blocked a proposed class action on behalf of 1.5 million workers nationwide.

If the nationwide class had been allowed, it would have been the largest in the nation’s history. But the Supreme Court said there was not sufficient evidence of an alleged company-wide discrimination policy to allow a nationwide class action.

The lawsuit was originally filed in federal court in San Francisco in 2001.

The lawyers claimed the revised lawsuit meets guidelines set down by the high court and also asserted they have new evidence of discrimination by regional managers in California.

“We’re back,” said attorney Brad Seligman.

“This case and the fight for justice for the women of Wal-Mart are not over. We are determined to see that California Wal-Mart women employees who have been waiting up to 11 years for justice finally get their day in court,” Seligman said.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., is the nation’s largest retail chain.

Wal-Mart attorney Theodore Boutrous issued a statement contending the amended lawsuit doesn’t meet the Supreme Court’s guidelines for class actions.

Boutrous said, “The Supreme Court rejected these very same class action theories when it reversed the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ last effort in June.”

The revised lawsuit will now go before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco for further proceedings.

The lawyers said they plan to file additional lawsuits covering other regions of the country in the next several months.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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