California Approves Equal Pay Lawsuit Against Disney, 9,000 Women To Sue For Alleged Compensation Violations

The female Avengers assemble during the Battle of Earth in Avengers: Endgame (2019), Marvel Entertainment
The female Avengers assemble during the Battle of Earth in Avengers: Endgame (2019), Marvel Entertainment

It seems as if the time for Disney to put their money where their mouth is regarding their progressive virtue signaling has finally arrived, as thanks to approval from the state of California, 9,000 women will be allowed to proceed with a class-action lawsuit against them on the grounds that the company knowingly payed them less than their male counterparts.

Mickey Mouse (Chris Diamantopoulos) admits that Aqua (Megumi Toyoguchi ) is still trapped in the Realm of Darkness via Kingdom Hearts III (2019), Square Enix via YouTube
Mickey Mouse (Chris Diamantopoulos) admits that Aqua (Megumi Toyoguchi ) is still trapped in the Realm of Darkness via Kingdom Hearts III (2019), Square Enix via YouTube

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The largest such legal action to ever go forward under the state’s Equal Pay Act and covering employees from the company’s Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, film, TV, ABC, Marvel, and Lucasfilm division, the lawsuit was allowed to move forward on December 8th after Los Angeles Judge Elihu M. Berle rejected the House of Mouse’s attempt to dismiss the case on the grounds that its claims were too broad.

(L-R): Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm’s STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

In making her failed argument to the court, Disney attorney Felicia Davis declared that such pay discrepancies existed due to the fact that two employees sharing a similar position did not necessarily mean that their actual workloads were “substantially similar.”

Per Courthouse News, following Judge Berle’s decision, plaintiff’s attorney Loris Andrus told the media, “Disney has been gaslighting us for four years, and today they were proved wrong. This case is not about nine individual plaintiffs. It’s about all the women in California who work for Disney, and who are fed up of being paid less than their male counterparts, and who are seeking fair treatment. That’s all.”

Monica Rambeau (Teyonnah Parris) and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) exchange some typical Marvel humor in The Marvels (2023), Marvel Entertainment
Monica Rambeau (Teyonnah Parris) and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) exchange some typical Marvel humor in The Marvels (2023), Marvel Entertainment

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As detailed by the aforementioned Courthouse News, Andrus claims that female Disney employees not only received an average of 2% less in compensation than men in equivalent roles, but that their bonuses and other such incentives were distributed in a confusing and unfair fashion.

The suit’s lead plaintiff, LaRonda Ramussen claimed to have earned varying amounts less, but at least $16,000, than the six other men who held her same managerial position.

“I think Disney’s defense is going to break down,” she continued, “because here’s what they’re gonna say: ‘Oh, well, she should be paid less because of blah, blah, blah. She should be paid less because of blah, blah, blah. Because if you do that in front of a jury, you’re dead. There’s no way that’s going to be acceptable to a California jury in 2024.”

Peter Pan (Christopher Steele) makes up a new rule about The Lost Boys in order to calm Tinkerbell down in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2009), Square Enix
Peter Pan (Christopher Steele) makes up a new rule about The Lost Boys in order to calm Tinkerbell down in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2009), Square Enix

Adding to her thoughts during a later interview with IndieWire, Andrus further asserted, “These are important cases for reducing the wage gap and exposing discriminatory pay practices. We are honored to represent the brave women who have come forward to tell the stories of so many women who are treated like cheap labor. We are pleased that the judge saw through Disney’s tactics. Fairness is the goal. That is all.”

Pressed by for comment on Judge Berle’s ruling by various outlets, Disney simply provided a written statement stating, “We are disappointed with the court’s ruling as to the Equal Pay Act claims and are considering our options.”

Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang), Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and Abby (Hyein Park) show off their dance moves in Turning Red (2022), Disney
Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang), Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and Abby (Hyein Park) show off their dance moves in Turning Red (2022), Disney

As of writing, Davis is referring all inquiries regarding the case to Disney proper.

Meanwhile, Andru is reportedly working to file another-but-similar lawsuit against Disney for supposedly violating the California Fair Employment and Housing Act protections of a further 12,000 female employees.

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