The analysis of salary data carried out under a class-action lawsuit alleging pay gaps at Walt Disney revealed that the entertainment company systematically underpaid women and deprived them of over $150m in wages in California.
Reportedly, since 2015 the company's female employees earned less compared to their male counterparts over eight years. The attorney representing the group of women suing Disney claimed in Los Angeles court that the women were paid on average 2% less than men doing the same jobs. The company's pay scale allegedly violated California’s Equal Pay Act.
Walt Disney Lawsuit
The University of California Irvine professor and labour economist David Neumark conducted the analysis. The study was led by analysing Disney's human resource data from April 2015 to December 2022. The data consist of the salaries of workers at Disney Studios, parks, and resorts, salaries of non-union employees below the vice-president level, music labels, Disney+, ABC, Lucasfilm, Searchlight Pictures, and all the entities that are subjected to the same compensation system, as per a report. The result was shocking, as it showed a huge pay gap.
Further, the attorney through motion seeks to convince the judge to convert the civil suit into a class action covering atleast 12,500 female Disney employees.
The original suit was filed in 2019 by LaRonda Rasmussen, product development manager for Disney. The plaintiff Rasmussen alleged in the suit that six men with the same designation were receiving between $16,000 to nearly $40,000 more than her. She claimed she was earning $25,000 less than some men with the same titles. And other women complained of being denied promotions and lower salary raises than men.
The nine women are plaintiffs, out of which five are women of colour. The plaintiffs hired David Neumark for analysing the data and his report revealed that pay disparities stemmed from gender discrimination.