The case against Disney remains in the discovery phase, where both sides exchange information about the witnesses and evidence they plan to use. There have been early victories and defeats for both sides.
Judge Daniel J. Buckley, for instance, granted a plaintiff request to widen the case to include claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. A more recent ruling, however, went in Disney’s favor: Citing attorney-client privilege, the judge rebuffed an attempt by Ms. Andrus to obtain access to an analysis that Disney lawyers commissioned in 2017 on pay equity at the company.
Still to be decided is the crucial matter of class action. Certifying the case as such would allow the plaintiffs to represent women employed by Disney in California in full-time positions (excluding those represented by a union) from April 1, 2015, onward — tens of thousands of women.
Felicia A. Davis, the lawyer leading Disney’s defense, has argued that the plaintiffs’ “anecdotal” claims cannot form the basis of a class action, in part because it would unfairly lump together women who work (or worked) in “markedly different jobs, requiring markedly different skills, effort and responsibility,” across “markedly different lines of business.”
In a previous statement, Disney said, “We look forward to presenting our response to the individual claims in court at the appropriate time.”
The 10 women are suing for back pay, lost benefits and other compensation. They also want a judge to force Disney to create internal programs to “remedy the effects of Disney’s past and present unlawful employment policies,” including adjusting salaries and benefits for other women and creating a task force that reports on the progress.
In addition to Ms. Rasmussen, Ms. Moore and Ms. Hanke, the women are Ginia Eady-Marshall, a senior manager at Disney Music Publishing; Enny Joo, a marketing executive at Hollywood Records; Becky Train, a media producer at Disney Imagineering; Amy Hutchins, a former production supervisor in a division that is now Direct-to-Consumer & International; Anabel Pareja Sinn, a former art designer at Hollywood Records; Dawn Wisner-Johnson, a former music coordinator at ABC; and Nancy Dolan, a senior manager of creative music marketing.