The largest employee class-action lawsuit in U.S. history will not go forward, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, marking a major victory for Wal-Mart Stores and certain frustration for more than 1.6 million female workers who potentially could have joined the suit claiming sex discrimination.

The court agreed unanimously that the litigation could not proceed as a class action in its current form, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The court split along 5-4 lines over whether the group presented a common claim in seeking an injunction that would have forced the retailer to change its employment practices.

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