EXCLUSIVE: Fireworks might be about to go off at the Walt Disney Company this Fourth of July weekend, at least legally.
More than four years after Walt Disney Studios staffers LaRonda Rasmussen and Karen Moore first filed a complaint accusing the Mouse House of discriminating against female workers by paying them less than men, attorneys for the duo and other women are today asking a California judge to allow them to turn the matter into a class-action suit.
In a widely redacted filing on the potentially sprawling matter (read it here), plaintiffs’ attorney Lori Andrus and Joseph M. Sellers and Christine E. Webber of D.C.-based Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll figuratively seek to make up for lost time by cut straight to the chase:
Disney systematically pays women in California less than men. This pay disparity is not based on legitimate factors, it is based on sex, with a less than one in one billion chance it occurred in the absence of discrimination. The class as a whole was thus deprived of over $150 million in wages. Disney violated the Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”) because its common practices caused a disparate impact on women. It also violated California’s Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), which does not require Plaintiffs to identify the cause of the disparities, because it pays women less for substantially similar jobs. Accordingly, Plaintiffs seek certification of a class of non-union, female employees in California, below the level of Vice President, challenging sex discrimination in compensation at Disney on or after April 1, 2015.