Cohen Milstein; Andrus Anderson LLP; and Goldstein Borgen Dardarian & Ho, are representing current and former female employees of The Walt Disney Company and all Disney subsidiaries in gender pay equity litigation before the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles. Plaintiffs allege that Disney pays women in California less than their male counterparts.
This lawsuit was originally filed by Andrus Anderson as a putative class action in California state court in 2019. Cohen Milstein joined the lawsuit in August 2022.
On December 8, 2023, the Los Angeles Superior Court granted in part Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, certifying a class of women bringing claims under California’s Equal Pay Act, which requires women to compare themselves to men in “substantially similar” jobs, but which does not require plaintiffs to identify the cause of the pay disparities.
Disney classifies its jobs into job families and job levels. An expert I/O psychologist who reviewed the substantial material produced by Disney about its “global job framework” opined that Disney determined that jobs assigned the same job family and job level were substantially similar jobs. Thus, the Court found that if the jury accepted Plaintiffs’ argument that Disney had successfully classified its jobs in a way that identified substantially similar work, then it did not matter if there were many different types of jobs included in the class. There were approximately 3,000 different job family/job level composites included in Plaintiffs’ statistical analysis and the class.
The Court also granted Plaintiffs’ requests to unseal materials submitted to the court in connection with class certification, including numerous documents produced in discovery and unredacted expert reports.
The Walt Disney Company is the world’s largest media company, which includes amusement parks and resorts, media networks, studio entertainment, and consumer products and interactive media.
Plaintiffs, who include long-time employees, have come to understand that, across all of its business segments and at all levels of the company, Disney routinely underpays its female employees and passes them over for promotion. Simply put, Plaintiffs allege that Disney values its male employees more than its female employees.
Plaintiffs seek legal and equitable relief under the California Equal Pay Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and California Business & Professions Code §17200, the California Private Attorneys General Act, and various California Labor Codes.
Case name: Rasmussen, et al. v. The Walt Disney Company, et al., Case. No. 19STCV10974, Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles