Most would think valuing male staff over female staff would be something of the past, right? Not so, apparently, as the Walt Disney Co. are being sued over claims of underpaying their female staff by large margins.
San Fransisco-based law firm Andrus Anderson LLP claim that corporate policies, such as establishing new employees’ wages on past salaries, have had a discriminatory effect on women.
Legal action was brought on behalf of two female employees, which claims the company does not have an internal system to ensure women are not paid less than male co-workers for the same work.
Disney, however, denies the claims, saying that they are “without merit”.
The complaint, which was reported in Variety, says financial analyst LaRonda Rasmussen raised a concern in regards to her pay with Disney’s human resources after she discovered six men who had the same job title were being paid more.
It’s been alleged that the pay imbalance varied from $16,000 (£12, 147) per year to $40,000 (£36, 368). While Rasmussen was given a $25,000 (£19,000) raise, she claims she still makes significantly less than her average male counterpart.
The legal papers filed on behalf of Rasmussen and another, Karen Moore, claim: “Like other companies that operate without transparency, consistency, and accountability, Disney’s leadership tends to value male workers more than female workers.
“Taken together, Disney’s compensation policies, procedures and practices are not valid, job-related, or justified by business necessity.”
A spokesperson for Disney responded on the claim: “The lawsuit is without merit and we will defend against it vigorously,”
Attorney Lori Andrus also made a statement on the claims, saying as the company “nears its 100th year in existence, it needs to catch up with the times,”
“The gender gap addressed by this lawsuit is all too familiar, and women are fed up with being treated as cheap labour.”
Karen Moore works as a senior copyright admin administrator for the Disney Music Group in Burbank. She claims she felt discouraged from applying to a manager position, which was later changed to senior manager and was given to a man. The lawsuit claims “he is making significantly more than Ms. Moore even though they are both performing the same or substantially similar work.”
Andrus Anderson LLP are also suing other companies in similar lawsuits, including Intel, Steptoe & Johnson and Farmers Insurance.
Earlier this week, other companies including Apple, AT&T, Salesforce and Airbnb signed up to cooperate in a state initiative promoting equal pay, agreeing to a gender pay analysis.
Since 2015, when a tougher pay equity law was signed, companies have been required to pay men and women equally for the same or similar work.
But, seemingly Disney are somehow not abiding by or even eliminating, the mystery and the urban legend of the gender pay gap, if this lawsuit is anything to go by. Let’s now wait and see what happens in this “gender pay gap” class action suit, shall we?
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: BBC