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Case Name Chen v. Western Digital Corporation EE-CA-0362
Docket / Court 8:19-cv-00909 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On May 14, 2019, a female employee of Western Digital Corporation filed this class-action lawsuit in the Central District of California. The plaintiff, on behalf of herself and approximately 1,370 female employees, sued Western Digital Corporation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ... read more >
On May 14, 2019, a female employee of Western Digital Corporation filed this class-action lawsuit in the Central District of California. The plaintiff, on behalf of herself and approximately 1,370 female employees, sued Western Digital Corporation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and state law. Western Digital, the defendant, is a major computer data storage company. The plaintiff, represented by private plaintiff firms, sought injunctive relief and nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant engaged in discriminatory pay, promotion, and job placement policies based on gender. Specifically, she alleged that her employer paid her less than her male coworkers who performed substantially similar work, and refused to promote her despite promoting less qualified male employees.

On May 29, the plaintiff filed a motion for approval of a class settlement agreement, unopposed by the defendant. The parties reached the settlement agreement before they filed formal litigation. The settlement class contained two sub-classes: a California Sub-Class and a Nationwide Sub-Class. The California Sub-Class included women directly employed by Western Digital in California in a senior manager level or below at any time from November 1, 2012 through the date of the Order Granting Preliminary Approval. The Nationwide Sub-Class included women directly employed by Western Digital as regular employees in the senior manager position or below in the United States at any time from November 1, 2013 through the date of the Order Granting Preliminary Approval.

The proposed agreement contained two central components: programmatic relief aimed at eliminating gender disparities and generating equal employment opportunities and a $7.75 million settlement fund. The proposed programmatic relief focused on initiatives to remedy the alleged discriminatory practices based on gender and to foster an equitable work environment. According to the settlement, Western Digital agreed to develop initiatives to evaluate, promote, and compensate women equitably, conduct statistical analyses regarding pay and promotion, design leadership initiatives for women, and improve its policies regarding flexible work arrangements and parental leave. Further, the company agreed to keep records relevant to their compliance with this agreement and to enhance investigation procedures for managing internal complaints of gender discrimination. The proposed settlement included the appointment of a compliance monitor by Western Digital to determine their ongoing adherence to the agreement.

Out of the fund, the proposed settlement granted each class member on average $3,615 in damages. Attorneys' fees comprised 33.33 percent, or $2,583,333. Defendants agreed to dedicate any unused funds to Legal Aid at Work and Legal Aid Society of Orange County. The proposed settlement did not specify an end date.

The judge had yet to approve the settlement agreement as of September 26, 2019. The case is still ongoing.

Lily Sawyer-Kaplan - 10/02/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Promotion
Reporting
Training
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
State law
Defendant(s) Western Digital Corporation
Plaintiff Description The class includes female employees of Western Digital employed in California from November 1, 2012 through the date of the proposed settlement order and female employees of Western Digital employed nationwide from November 1, 2013 through the date of the proposed settlement order. Both Sub-Classes include all female employees at the senior manager level and below.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief Settlement
None yet
Filing Year 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
8:19-cv-909 (C.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0362-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-CA-0362-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Amended Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement [ECF# 19]
EE-CA-0362-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Staton [-Tucker], Josephine L. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Desai, Aashish Y. (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-9000
Fuschetti, Danielle Anne (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-0001 | EE-CA-0362-0002 | EE-CA-0362-9000
Medina, Felicia Maria (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-0001 | EE-CA-0362-0002 | EE-CA-0362-9000
Sanford, David (New York) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-0001 | EE-CA-0362-0002 | EE-CA-0362-9000
Sharp, Kevin Hunter (Tennessee) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chopra, Apalla U (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-9000
Howard, Susannah Kelly (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0362-9000

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