Walt Disney Co tries to circumvent pay disparity lawsuit saying it's too unwieldy for a class action

In a demurrer to the lawsuit filed on Friday, Walt Disney Co primarily denied any disparity in pay between men and women employees

FP Staff October 22, 2019 11:11:09 IST
Walt Disney Co tries to circumvent pay disparity lawsuit saying it's too unwieldy for a class action

The Walt Disney Co is trying to nullify a lawsuit claiming that women employees are paid less as compared to men in their organisation, by alleging that the complaint is too wide and unwieldy to consider a class action, reports Deadline.

In a demurrer to the lawsuit filed on Friday, the company primarily denied any such disparity in pay and also stated that the plaintiffs' claims were "anecdotal", and could not be considered the basis of a class action covering tens of thousands of employees across dozens of departments.

“No California court has certified a pay class action under any law that seeks to include such an enormous number of women who work (or worked) in such markedly different jobs, requiring markedly different skills, effort and responsibility, across such markedly different lines of business,” Disney’s lawyers stated.

Walt Disney Co tries to circumvent pay disparity lawsuit saying its too unwieldy for a class action

The Disney Logo. Image from Facebook

The plaintiffs’ attorney Lori Andrus counter-argued that the company's wide scale was not a good enough defense.

In April, Andrus Anderson LLP filed a suit with as many as 10 plaintiffs, who claimed that Disney's hiring and pay scales have been quite discriminatory in nature, and that many women employees have been receiving salaries tens and thousands less than their male counterpart.

In the recent past, Disney is feeling some pain from its biggest transformation in decades as its acquisition of Fox's entertainment businesses contributed to a 39 percent drop in earnings.

CEO Bob Iger said one of the biggest issues affecting earnings was underperformance at the Fox movie and TV studio. Tuesday's results, the first complete quarter with Fox's businesses included, missed Wall Street's expectations. Disney's shares fell 3 percent in aftermarket trading.

The Fox studio was "well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition," Iger said during a conference call with analysts.

Particularly underperforming was Dark Phoenix, a Fox X-Men movie that failed to find its audience. That offset box office successes such as Avengers: Endgame.

Disney completed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox's entertainment business in March, putting Cinderella, The Simpsons, Star Wars and Dr Strange under one corporate roof. The deal paved the way for Disney to boost its streaming ventures, with the addition of Fox videos. In May, Disney also gained full control of Hulu after Comcast sold its stake in the streaming service.

The hearing on the demurrer is set for 11 December.

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