Los Angeles, California – Andrus Anderson broadened a gender pay gap lawsuit today against The Walt Disney Company, increasing the number of women employees claiming pay discrimination by the largest media company in the world. The Guardian newspaper reported on the development.
Together, the plaintiffs in Rasmussen v. The Walt Disney Company, et al., Case No. 19STCV10974 (Los Angeles County Superior Court) seek to hold Disney accountable for routinely paying its women employees less than men.
“The growing number of women employees stepping forward shows that unequal compensation for women seems to be engrained in Disney’s culture,” said pay gap attorney Lori E. Andrus. “Disney needs to take a long hard look at how it’s compensating its women employees. It is only fair that they be given equal pay for equal work.”
According to the lawsuit, LaRonda Rasmussen has been paid tens of thousands of dollars less than her male co-workers, despite the fact that she performs the same work. Ms. Rasmussen is an exemplary employee who has worked for Disney for more than 11 years. The lawsuit alleges that until 2017 she earned at least $26,000 less than the average male holding the same title of “Manager, Product Development.” When Ms. Rasmussen brought the issue to Disney’s attention, she received a long-overdue raise, but even with her new salary was still earning $5,000 less than the average man holding the same title.
Ms. Rasmussen’s experience is not an isolated one. Nancy Dolan, who joined the lawsuit today, is paid roughly $30,000 less than the average Senior Manager at Disney. For the last several years, her boss has acknowledged that she “operates on a Vice President level,” yet Disney has rejected her repeated requests to be promoted, even to the Director level. This, despite the fact that she took over the responsibilities of an Executive Vice President when he left Disney. Like the other women involved in the lawsuit, Ms. Dolan’s performance reviews have been excellent, saying things like “she is worth her weight in gold,” and her efforts on one film “yielded global success.”
“Being underpaid and undervalued year after year has a very real cumulative effect, financially,” said Ms. Dolan. “It’s also demoralizing and emotionally draining. It’s time for Disney to join the dozens of California companies who have pledged to pay their women workers fairly.”
Ms. Andrus added: “When women are paid less than their male counterparts, their social security deposits are affected, their ability to save for retirement is affected. Lower base pay means lower bonuses and smaller raises. This is not just a ‘women’s issue,’ it’s an economic issue with enormous consequences for a large portion of California’s workforce.”
Another plaintiff in the case, Virginia “Ginia” Eady-Marshall, has worked for Disney for a total of 15 years. Though Ms. Eady-Marshall is recognized as a “subject matter expert” whose job responsibilities are “consistent with” that of a Director, Disney has refused to give her the promotion and raise that she deserves.
“I love the Disney brand, and I love my job,” said Ms. Eady-Marshall. “But when Disney refuses to reward the hard work of its female employees, and when Disney allows unconscious bias to hold us back, I cannot stand by and do nothing.”
Enny Joo, who has worked for Disney since 1998, is a Director for Hollywood Records, Inc. In 2017, after a reorganization, she was asked to oversee creative for the entire roster of Hollywood Records’ artists. Although this scope of work was previously handled by a Vice President, Disney refused to grant Ms. Joo’s request for a promotion or raise.
Ms. Joo had this to say: “If I’m being asked to step up and be a leader, I should be recognized for it. I shouldn’t have to accept a lesser title and pay because of my gender. I feel a duty to speak up for the many women affected by these unfair compensation policies.”
“As we learn more and more about Disney’s compensation practices, it becomes clearer and clearer that Disney takes its women workers for granted,” said pay gap attorney Lori Andrus. “Each of these women has shown dedication to Disney and a willingness to work hard. All they want is to be treated fairly, and to see other women working for Disney treated fairly, too.”
If you worked at Disney and believe that you experienced pay discrimination due to gender, you may be able to take part in this class action lawsuit. Contact Andrus Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about your potential options.