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Vice Media Hit With Class Action Pay Equity Suit

Vice Media, already reeling from a sexual harassment scandal, was hit Tuesday with a class action lawsuit alleging the company systematically underpaid female employees.

The suit was filed by Elizabeth Rose, a former project manager at Vice who said she discovered that women were routinely paid far less than men for doing the same work.

According to the suit, Rose hired a male subordinate who was paid $25,000 more than she was. The man was later promoted and became her supervisor. A top Vice executive told Rose that the male employee was a “good personality fit” for male clients at Live Nation, with whom he would have to interact.

Rose also came across an internal memo that listed salaries for 35 employees, according to the suit. She said she also spoke with female colleagues and learned that the women were generally paid less than the men. One woman was paid $50,000, while her male counterparts made $65,000. When that woman was promoted to a managing editor job, she was paid $15,000 less than the previous managing editor, the suit alleges.

The suit claims the company hired two editors in Brooklyn and Los Angeles at the same time. The man, in Brooklyn, was paid more. When an employee raised objections, the suit states that Michael Prommer, a manager, pushed back, saying of the woman, “this is how much we can offer her” and “that’s what the budget was.”

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the firm of Alexander Krakow + Glick.

Update, 1:30 p.m.: A Vice spokesman issued the following statement:

“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. 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.”

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