United States: Los Angeles Times to pay settlement in lawsuit on pay disparity

The Los Angeles Times and Tribune Publishing have agreed to pay US$3 million to settle a lawsuit over unequal pay for journalists of Color and women journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) congratulates the LA Times Guild for their victory for equal pay.

Pedestrians walking past the offices of the Los Angeles Times. Credits: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

The foundation for the lawsuit was laid in 2018 when Los Angeles Times journalists voted to form a union and join the News Guild, an IFJ affiliate. The union demanded the release of salary data, which revealed that women journalists and journalists of Color were paid significantly less than their white male counterparts.

After the finding, LA Times media workers filed a lawsuit at San Bernardino County Superior Court claiming pay discrimination based on gender, race and ethnicity.

In October, a judge preliminarily approved the proposed settlement and identified 240 current and former reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times who would be eligible to receive compensation. Following that decision, Black, Latino and female reporters and editors who worked at the Los Angeles Times in the period between 2015 and 2020 will profit from the back pay. The payments are to be calculated based on a formula approved by the judge.

The lawsuit is based on the premise that salary practices violated California’s Equal Pay Act and California’s Business and Profession Code.

Tribune Publishing, which owned the Times until July 2018, and the Times’ current owners denied any wrongdoings or breaches of the law.

A final decision in the lawsuit is scheduled for March 2021.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We congratulate the LA Times Guild for their victory and this important achievement for pay equality. This case highlights once again the advantages of unionization: with the access to salary data, the Los Angeles Times employees could make a solid and successful case against this shameful pay discrimination. We hope this inspires other journalists and their unions to take actions to secure their right to equal pay.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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