Along with Nike, Oracle, Google, and many, many other companies, Vice Media was accused of "systematically and intentionally" underpaying female employees. A statistician hired by the plaintiffs found an estimated $9 million gender pay gap at the company. But in the end, both sides decided to settle the matter for far less.
Vice agreed to pay $1.875 million -- about $1,600 per woman after attorney fees -- to settle the class action lawsuit last week. The settlement comes as Vice is trying to address accusations of a toxic work environment for women.
New Boss, Same as the Old Boss?
"Vice's new management team is committed to maintaining a workplace where all employees are compensated equitably," a representative told The Hollywood Reporter. "This is why we provided our employees with the results of the company’s pay equity analysis, and have also settled the Rose case whereby we resolve any claimed historical disparities. We are dedicated to the equitable treatment of all people and we look forward to the Court's approval of the settlement so that we can continue to fulfill this mission."
That's likely all either side will say on the matter, publicly; the settlement includes a confidentiality agreement. Vice recently installed Nancy Dubuc as CEO after stories in The New York Times and Daily Beast detailed rampant sexual misconduct and a "toxic environment, where men could be abusive, and some women were manipulated into thinking that acquiescing to that abuse was the only way to advance."
Equal Pay Claims
This particular suit was filed by former channel and project manager Elizabeth Rose who says she hired a male project manager in 2015 for a joint project before learning her male subordinate made approximately $25,000 more per year than her. She also claimed he subsequently rose through the ranks of the company, even though the two were the same age and had similar work experience, allegedly because he was a "good personality fit" for male clients. After Rose came forward, several other current and former employees joined the lawsuit.
The suit accused Vice of violating California and New York equal pay statutes, it conceded the gap was due the company's reliance on prior salaries. California was one of the first to ban such questions on employment applications.
Let Vice be a lesson to you, and make sure an experienced employment attorney reviews your pay practices.