Disney is no stranger to lawsuits.
Of course, we’re probably all familiar with the ongoing DeSantis v. Disney lawsuit. But that’s not the only case that Disney has been part of. Plenty of other issues come up that call them to the courts, including a new one that has just recently been brought up involving 9,000 of their employees.
According to Variety, 9,000 women are suing Disney under California’s Equal Pay Act. This act “makes it illegal for workers to be paid less for substantially similar work based on their gender.”
As of Friday, December 8th, a judge has certified this class action lawsuit, giving these women the push they needed for this lawsuit. According to Lori Andrus, the plaintiffs’ attorning, “Disney has been gaslighting these women for four years.” She said, “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 9,000 women include employees from multiple sanctions including Disneyland hotels, Disneyland theme parks, the cruise line, the Disney film and TV studios, ABC, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and others. These are women who have worked for Disney in California since April 1, 2015 below the level of vice president, according to Variety.
Disney came forward with a written statement after hearing the judge’s decision stating, “We are disappointed with the court’s ruling as to the Equal Pay Act claims and are considering our options.” Felicia Davis, Disney’s attorney, stated that the plaintiffs wish to compare salaries among thousands of job groups with decisions made by thousands of managers, not one centralized decision.
Disney also argues that just because employees are in the same job family and level, does not mean they do “substantially similar” work. Davis stated, “These are different segments, different business areas, in different locations. They report to different managers. They are in completely different industries which pay completely differently.”
Though Disney has argued that the case will be so sprawling that it will be unmanageable, Judge Elihu M. Berle commented, “I know — it’s going to be horrendous.” She challenged their argument that there is no efficient way to establish pay disparities across large groups by adding, “You’re telling me Disney has no system of categorizing pay grade levels?”
Andrus has said that there is a 2% lower pay for women across the class than for men. A status conference is set for February 9th, 2024 and the trial is expected to occur before October 2024. In the meantime, we’ll be watching for more updates.
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