A group of current and former employees of The Walt Disney Co. have filed a lawsuit alleging that the company has unfairly paid women in middle management positions at least $150 million less than their male coworkers in similar roles. The employees are seeking class treatment for their case and have presented their claims to a judge in Los Angeles.
The women who initiated the proposed class action against The Walt Disney Co. originally filed their lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2019. They assert that Disney has engaged in a systematic practice of paying women employees in California less than men for comparable positions, which is a violation of the Fair Employment & Housing Act and California’s Equal Pay Act. According to the complaint filed by the affected women, Disney has a pattern of consistently paying its female employees less than its male employees. Additionally, they claim that women are frequently overlooked for promotions, assigned extra work without receiving sufficient compensation, and lack the necessary support staff to help them excel in their roles.
The estimate of at least $150 million in wage disparity between women and men in comparable positions at Disney is based on an expert report by an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine. As a researcher specializing in labor market discrimination, the professor conducted the analysis this month to provide an assessment of the pay gap within the company. According to the report, Disney operates through various segments and business divisions, all of which follow the company’s centralized employment policies and practices. The analysis indicates that, on average, women at Disney were paid approximately 2% less than men. The report highlights the statistical significance of this finding, stating that the likelihood of such results occurring by chance in the absence of gender differences is less than one in one billion. The women involved in the lawsuit point out that the pay disparity can be attributed to Disney’s consideration of prior salary when determining pay for new hires and the responsibility for setting starting pay being entrusted to a small group of individuals.
The women involved in the lawsuit have requested the court certify a a class consisting of non-union, female employees in California who hold positions below the level of vice president. They aim to challenge instances of alleged sex discrimination in compensation at Disney that have occurred on or after April 1, 2015. This request for class certification was recently filed and is currently under consideration. According to the motion for class certification, the class comprises women who have all been affected by shared compensation policies that disproportionately impact women in terms of their pay. The exact number of potential class members remains undisclosed as it is redacted in the motion, so the total number of employees involved is not immediately clear. The women argue that class treatment is appropriate for this case because it involves common questions of law and fact that outweigh individual considerations. They assert that their claims can be substantiated using shared evidence, indicating that there are patterns and practices at Disney that have resulted in gender-based disparities in compensation. By seeking class treatment, the women aim to collectively address these systemic issues affecting a larger group of employees. Many are watching this case, since it may represent a significant advancement in the pursuit of equal pay and could be a crucial step in addressing the issue of gender-based wage disparities. It t is essential for corporations, including Disney, to ensure fair compensation for women workers and to prioritize equal pay
If you have concerns that your employer might be paying you less based on your gender despite performing equal and comparable work, it is essential to assert your rights and seek appropriate action. Contact Fitapelli & Schaffer without delay to schedule a consultation. Our skilled team is dedicated to understanding your situation, offering expert advice, and supporting you in pursuing legal remedies for gender-based pay discrimination. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ensure that you receive the fair and equal compensation you are entitled to.