The Walt Disney Company is facing a gender pay lawsuit which alleges that the company violates California law by “routinely” paying women less than men for similar work, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
The suit was filed April 2nd in Los Angeles County Superior Court by law firm Andrus Anderson LLP on behalf of two women, LaRonda Rasmussen and Karen Moore. The law firm’s pay gap attorney, Lori E. Andrus, said in a statement:
“As Disney nears its 100th year in existence, it needs to catch up with the times. The gender pay gap addressed by this lawsuit is all too familiar, and women are fed up with being treated as cheap labor. We hope that this lawsuit will shed some light on the pay discrimination that Disney is subjecting its hard-working female employees to. It is only fair to demand equal pay for equal work.”
Rasmussen is a manager in product development at the company’s Glendale campus, and has worked there for eleven years. According to the lawsuit, in 2017, she raised the issue that she was making less than her male counterparts who held the same title. According to the Times report, Rasmussen earned $109,958 in base salary that year, while six male product development managers were paid $16,000 to almost $40,000 more. Rasmussen then claims that five months after she discussed the issue, Disney told her that her pay amount “was not due to gender.” She received a $25,000 raise last year, but Rasmussen still believes that she is earning less than her male colleagues.
Moore is a senior copyright administrator for Disney Music Publishing. She claims that she was discouraged from applying to a manager position, which was later moved into a senior management position and given to a male worker. The suit alleges that “He is making significantly more than Ms. Moore even though they are both performing the same or substantially similar work,” according to the Times.
The law firm is looking to make this a class-action suit, and encourages Disney employees who feel they have experienced gender pay discrimination to contact them.
In a statement, Disney claims that the suit has no merit and that they “will defend against it vigorously.”
In 2015, the Governor of California signed a stronger pay equity law into effect, which requires companies to pay male and female workers equally for similar work.