Vice Media Faces Lawsuit for Gender Pay Discrimination

“Vice made a conscious decision to pay more money to its male employees,” says a lawyer for the plaintiff Elizabeth Rose

A former Vice Media employee filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing the news organization of engaging in systemic gender pay discrimination during the time of her employment.

In the suit, which was filed Tuesday, Elizabeth Rose claims that during her time at Vice, she had access to an internal memo showing the salaries of 35 employees, which revealed substantial disparities between men and women for what she said was “the same or substantially similar work.”

The story was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

“Our investigation has uncovered significant evidence that Vice made a conscious decision to pay more money to its male employees than its female employees who worked in similar positions performing the same or substantially similar work,” said Rose’s attorney, Michael Morrison, in a statement.

“This result is not surprising given the male dominated leadership structure at Vice and the public allegations of rampant gender discrimination and harassment as reported by the New York Times last year.”

The suit was filed in filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and accuses the company of being in violation of the Federal Equal Pay Act and the New York and California Equal Pay Acts.

In addition to the memo, Rose asserts in the suit that she herself was the victim of gender discrimination and was paid $25,000 less than a male subordinate who she hired but was subsequently promoted over her.

“We have just been made aware of the complaint and are reviewing it. As a company, we have made a significant commitment to a respectful, inclusive and equal workplace,” a Vice spokesperson said in an emailed statement to TheWrap.

“That commitment includes a pay parity audit started last year, a goal of 50/50 female/male representation at every level by 2020, and the formation of a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board.”

The suit comes at a turbulent time for the company. In January Vice fired Chief Digital Officer Mike Germano after he was named in a New York Times piece describing misconduct at the organization.

The company’s president, Andrew Creighton was also named in the Times story and was suspended from his duties on Jan. 2.

Vice co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi apologized on behalf of the company in a public note to employees last December.

“We understand that this had an impact on current and former employees at Vice, and we want to express our deepest apologies to them, as well as our extreme regret for our role in perpetuating sexism in the media industry and society in general,” the wrote.

Vice also announced the creation of a female-led advisory committee, which includes feminist icon Gloria Steinem.