Disney Accused of Paying Women Less Than Men in California

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The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) has been accused of systematically underpaying its female employees in California in a lawsuit that alleges that female employees earned $150 million less than their male counterparts over an eight-year period.

Violation of California’s Equal Pay Act & FEHA

The lawsuit was first filed against Disney in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2019, alleging an “egregious gender pay gap that appears to be engrained in Disney’s culture”. The women claim that Disney has been systematically paying female employees in California 2% ($150 million) less than male employees for equivalent jobs, thus contravening California’s Equal Pay Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act. This estimate comes from an expert report prepared by David Neumark, a University of California Irvine economics professor and labor economist. According to the complaint filed by nine named plaintiffs, “Disney routinely underpays its female employees, passes them over for promotion, piles on extra work without additional compensation, and does not supply sufficient support staff to allow women to succeed at their jobs”.

Proposed Class Action

The motion for class certification filing on June 30, 2023 seeks to persuade the judge to certify the lawsuit as a class action, covering approximately 12,500 current or former full-time female Disney employees who held positions below the level of vice president from 2015 to present. The case excludes Hulu, ESPN, Pixar, 21st Century Fox, and other Disney brands that have different pay policies or were recently acquired. General counsel for Disney denied the allegations, stating, “[t]he plaintiffs’ assertions about an alleged pay gap between women and men are simply false, which we will demonstrate through the litigation.”

MNK Law will continue to monitor developments with respect to the lawsuit against Disney. For more information on equal pay, wage discrimination as well as Class Action defense in California, please contact us at info@mnklawyers.com.

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.