The Walt Disney Company is bracing for a significant legal battle as 9,000 women have filed a lawsuit alleging gender-based pay discrimination within the company. This number is not an exaggeration.
A recent decision by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed Disney’s effort to have the lawsuit thrown out, greenlighting the proposed class action suit to move forward, as reported by Variety. If certified, this lawsuit would become the largest ever under California’s Equal Pay Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of gender.
“Disney has been gaslighting these women for four years,” stated Lori Andrus, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “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 lawsuit accuses Disney of systematically paying women less than men across various sectors of the company since 2015. This includes employees in Disney parks, hotels, cruises, and its film and TV divisions, which encompass Marvel and Lucasfilm.
Disney has denied these allegations, arguing that the plaintiffs’ salary comparisons are flawed. The company claims these disparities are the result of decisions made by thousands of individual managers, rather than a centralized policy.
The future of this substantial class action lawsuit is currently uncertain, with the next step being a status meeting scheduled for February.
In recent times, Disney has positioned itself as a proponent of inclusivity and diversity, aligning with various progressive social justice causes. However, this stance has reportedly led to a disconnect with a portion of its customer base, contributing to a financial downturn that has seen the company lay off 7,000 employees.