Walt Disney is in hot water after a lawsuit filed earlier this week claimed the company underpays female employees.
The Walt Disney Company recently came under fire in a lawsuit filed by Andrus Anderson, a law firm based in San Francisco, over allegations that Disney discriminates against female employees. The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of two Disney employees, LaRonda Rasmussen and Karen Moore, and argues the company pays female workers less than male employees. Currently, the lawsuit is seeking damages, including compensation for back pay and lost benefits.
In addition to the damages, the plaintiffs are hoping the judge will “Disney to create internal programs to remedy the effects of Disney’s past and present unlawful employment policies, including adjusting salaries and benefits for other women and creating a task force that compiles reports on progress.”
When commenting on the case, Lori E. Andrus, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said:
“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.”
For nearly 11 years, Rasmussen has worked for Disney in a variety of different positions. She currently works as a product development manager at Walt Disney Studios, though in 2017 she “complained to Disney’s human resources department about being paid less than men performing the same or very similar jobs and asked for an audit,” according to the suit. Unfortunately, her claim ended up being true. The audit she requested found that men were indeed paid more, “but Disney told Ms. Rasmussen that the amount of her pay was not due to gender.” Even after her annual salary was raised by $25,000 in 2018 after HR conducted “an evaluation of market forces,” Rasmussen claims she still earns less than her male counterparts.
Moore has also worked for the company for many years and is currently employed as a senior copyright administrator with the studio’s music label. According to her, she was “discouraged from applying for a manager position and that, after the job description was changed, a man was hired” and is “making significantly more than Ms. Moore even though they are both performing the same or substantially similar work.”
So far, Disney has pushed back against the allegations in the lawsuit and issued the following statement:
“The lawsuit’s uninformed generalized allegations about Disney’s policies and practices are baseless. Disney maintains robust pay equity practices and policies. Even before California’s Fair Pay Act, Disney created a specialized team of compensation professionals and lawyers to analyze and address the company’s pay equity practices.”