May 8, 2019 Category: wages
The Walt Disney company has been accused of systematically paying female employees less than male employees. The claim is outlined in a sexual discrimination lawsuit that was filed in Los Angeles last month.
In the lawsuit, two female Disney employees claim that the company pays female employees less, passes them over for deserved promotions, and does not extend the same benefits as it does to men. The women believe that Disney knows about its practices in creating a wage gap, but has done nothing to fix it.
Female Employees Claim They’re Paid Thousands Less Than Male Co-Workers
A company should not value the work of men more than it does the work of women. This is precisely what Disney is accused of in the sexual discrimination lawsuit. The female plaintiffs allege that they have been paid tens of thousands of dollars less than their male co-workers.
An audit was conducted when the women brought their concerns to Disney management. Disney found that there was, in fact, a discrepancy in what female and male employees were paid. However, the company explained that the difference in pay was not due to gender. Instead, the pay discrepancy was due to a company policy that bases new employee salaries on what they’ve learned in the past.
The company’s policy puts female employees at a disadvantage from the very start of their Disney career. In fact, it allows men with fewer qualifications and less experience to outearn women who have been at the company for years. The lawsuit specifically points to at least one young male employee who earned more than the plaintiff’s the day he started at Disney. He had far less experience, and his qualifications paled in comparison to theirs. Despite this, he earns more money.
Under a new California law, this practice is no longer permitted. It’s been established that basing an employee’s compensation on their salary history perpetuates the wage gap. Women are typically paid less than men for a variety of reasons. If salary history can be used as a factor in calculating new compensation, the wage Gap will never close.
Male-Dominated Management May Explain the Disney Wage Gap
The women suing Disney believe that a male-dominated culture at the top may be to blame. Management and executives are almost exclusively male. There are very few women in positions of power that can influence and evoke change.
As a result, Disney’s compensation practices have led to a heated legal dispute. Now a California Court will step in and determine whether or not Disney is unlawfully paying female employees or less than men.
Disney Can’t Retaliate Against the Women
Filing a lawsuit against your employer is always risky. There’s always the fear that you’ll be punished for speaking out against discrimination or harassment. However, it is illegal for any employer to retaliate against an employee for taking legal action. Retaliation can include any adverse employment decision, including termination, demotion, pay decrease, or shift change.
What Damages Can the Women Recover?
There are a few reasons employees file discrimination and harassment lawsuit.
One is to stop a company from engaging in unsavory and illegal practices. A lawsuit can force a company to change its policies and treat employees better.
Another reason to file a lawsuit is to recover compensation. If an employee’s lawsuit is successful, they may be able to Force an employer to pay them money they’ve deserved, but haven’t received because of illegal employment practices.
Finally, an employee may choose to file a lawsuit to force the company’s hand. The lawsuit against Disney claims that women, including the plaintiffs, have been passed over for well-deserved promotions. If their arguments are successful, a court might order equitable remedies. These can include reinstating a woman to her job or extending a deserved promotion.