The granting of class-action status to a sex discrimination lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., sounded uncomfortably familiar to some in the supermarket industry, which saw a rash of similar cases brought and settled throughout the 1990s. The cases cost the industry millions, and sparked numerous changes in human resource practices offering women and minorities better opportunity to advance. "There's not a better time for women to meet opportunity in the ...

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