Judge Certifies Gender Pay Gap Class Action Lawsuit Against Disney

Shannen Ace


Judge Certifies Gender Pay Gap Class Action Lawsuit Against Disney

The gender discrimination lawsuit first filed against The Walt Disney Company in 2019 will be moving forward as a class action lawsuit, Variety reports.

Judge Certifies Disney Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

Judge Certifies Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit Against Disney

Judge Elihu M. Berle certified the class action lawsuit on Friday, allowing 9,000 women to sue the company on the grounds that they were paid less than their male co-workers.

This is the largest suit ever certified under California’s Equal Pay Act. It could cost Disney $300 million.

“Disney has been gaslighting these women for four years,” the plaintiffs’ attorney Lori Andrus said after the ruling. “They love their jobs. They love the brand. But they want to be respected and treated the way they should be in the workplace.”

The class includes female employees who have worked for Disney in California since April 1, 2015, in a non-union position below the VP level, and who have been assigned to a job family and level. This includes theme park and Disney Cruise Line Cast Members, as well as employees of Disney, ABC, Marvel, and Lucasfilm studios. It does not include employees of Pixar, ESPN, Hulu, Fox, or FX.

Andrus claims that the starting pay is 2 percent lower for women than for men.

Disney’s attorney, Felicia Davis, argued that the class action case would be too sprawling to manage, listing various job titles from across the company.

walt disney company

“These are different segments, different business areas, in different locations,” Davis said. “They report to different managers. They are in completely different industries which pay completely differently.”

She also stated that just because two employees are in the same job family and level, that doesn’t mean their work is “substantially similar.” She said Disney would have to create a complex defense to show that pay gaps were the result of allowable factors like experience and training.

Judge Berle rejected these arguments.

“I know — it’s going to be horrendous,” Berle said. “You’re telling me Disney has no system of categorizing pay grade levels?”

Andrus was also pursuing a claim that would cover a group of 12,000 women under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, but Berle denied class certification for that claim.

A status conference is scheduled for February 9, 2024, and the trial is expected to be held before October 2024.

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