In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Steven Malanga says that the discrimination case against Wal-Mart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Last month a San Francisco federal judge ruled that a lawsuit by a handful of Wal-Mart female employees should be transformed into a massive class-action case on behalf of 1.6 million women who worked at Wal-Mart over the last eight years. In rendering his decision, Judge Martin Jenkins called the case “historic.”

But critics of our civil justice system wouldn’t call the case “historic” so much as sadly typical of the current state of U.S. employment law. The suit is based on individual cases that reveal little more than the frustrated ambitions of underperforming or unpopular workers, backed up by dubious statistical analysis and tortured logic that binds together contradictory arguments by the thinnest of threads.

The case began as individual claims, which the legal team, led by the trial firm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll–specialists in suing big companies — has fought to elevate into class-action status in order to win a potentially big payday from Wal-Mart. To read the individual stories of the original plaintiffs of this lawsuit is to get a lesson in how employment law has been degraded to the point where aggrieved employees who have been disappointed in their careers regularly claim discrimination and sue — based on nothing more than the fact that they have not been promoted.

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