Days after Disney announced the closure of a production studio that focused on women-centered projects, the company has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging gender pay discrimination.
Variety reports that law firm Andrus Anderson LLP has filed a complaint that represents all women employed by Walt Disney Studios in California since 2015. The case was brought by Disney employees, plaintiffs LaRonda Rasmussen and Karen Moore.
According to the lawsuit, Rasmussen, a financial analyst for Disney, discovered in 2017 that she was earning between $16,000 to $40,000 less than six men with her same job title. She was given a $25,000 raise in 2018, but she still made less than her male co-workers, per the suit. Around that time, two other women also received considerable raises, which the complaint interprets as the company becoming aware of a systemic pay gap issue.
Hollywood, like every industry, has a serious problem with paying women make less than men for similar job titles and experience levels. “Like other companies that operate without transparency, consistency, and accountability, Disney’s leadership tends to value male workers more than female workers,” the suit claims, adding that “Disney’s compensation policies, procedures and practices are not valid, job-related, or justified by business necessity.”
A Disney spokesman called the lawsuit “without merit” and told Variety that “we will defend against it vigorously.”