Court blocks Costco gender bias suit

New York City -- Costco Wholesale Corp won a federal appeals court decision that blocks women who accused the company of gender bias from suing as a group. Although the ruling overturns a judge’s decision to expand a suit filed by three women to include hundreds of female workers, the court left open the possibility that the case could again be brought as a class action.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a lower court judge failed to properly decide whether there was enough "commonality" among the female Costco plaintiffs to justify class certification. It sent the case back to the lower court judge to determine whether she could certify a class under a different federal rule.

The Costco case involved about 600 current and former employees who accused the chain of making it harder for women to be promoted to general manager or assistant general manager.

Both sides said they were happy with the court’s most recent decision.

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