Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces Approval of $7.75 Million Settlement in Western Digital Gender Discrimination Class and Collective Action

Posted January 11th, 2021.

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Related to 1,863 female employees alleging sex discrimination and unequal pay

Sanford Heisler Sharp, a class action public interest firm, announced that on January 5, 2021, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted final approval of a $7.75 million class and collective action settlement in its case vs. Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies, Inc. on behalf of a class of 1,863 female employees alleging sex discrimination and unequal pay.

Under the settlement, over $5 million will be distributed directly to class members according to a settlement formula. Class members should expect to receive their individual checks in the mail in February 2021.

Western Digital is a computer storage company and one of the largest HDD manufacturers in the world. The case alleged nationwide discrimination vs. female employees in pay, promotions, and placement.

The storage company will also institute comprehensive programmatic relief designed to ensure equal opportunities for women at the company. It has already initiated several measures and will undertake others designed to enhance equity, objectivity, and transparency in pay and promotions. These measures include: creating a plan to increase the number of women hired and promoted to leadership; educating employees on non-discrimination policies; conducting statistical analyses of gender equity in pay and promotions; and revamping internal complaint procedures. The firm will also appoint an internal compliance monitor, who will ensure the implementation and compliance with the agreement and provide reports to the attorneys representing the class.

The settlement is the culmination of extensive pre-suit analysis of Western Digital’s employment and payroll data, and more than 2 years of negotiations. Both parties retained nationally renowned labor economists to analyze the data and mediated before David Rotman, Esq., a mediator. Throughout negotiations, parties invested substantial efforts in working to identify meaningful enhancements to Western Digital’s employment practices, which will be implemented as a result of the programmatic relief provisions of the settlement.

David Sanford, chairman, Sanford Heisler Sharp and co-lead counsel for the class, praised the settlement as “an extraordinary achievement and a testament to the courage and dedication of our client in stepping forward.”

Danielle Fuschetti, Sanford Heisler Sharp, also class counsel, added: “The settlement also could not have been achieved without Western Digital’s solutions-oriented approach. The company chose to focus its resources on compensating employees and promoting fairness and equality, rather than on fighting a long, expensive battle in court. The result is considerable monetary relief and a brighter outlook for women at Western Digital.”

The class was represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp, Medina Orthwein LLP and Desai Law Firm, PC.