$7.75M gender discrimination settlement with western digital on behalf of women in tech

On May 14, 2019, Medina Orthwein LLP and Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP announced the pre-suit settlement of a gender discrimination class and collective action lawsuit against Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies, Inc. The lawsuit alleges discrimination against women in pay, promotions, and job placement on behalf of all women employed by Western Digital in an indirect labor position at or below the Senior Manager level.

This class settlement is pending court approval. If the court approves, Western Digital will make a non-reversionary payment of $7.75 million. The majority of this fund will be distributed to a class of female employees.

“This is a huge step forward to achieving gender equity in tech, which is long overdue,” said Felicia Medina, founding partner of Medina Orthwein. “We are proud to support the women who came forward to advocate for equal pay in tech and to speak about their experiences. Pre-suit class settlement is no easy feat, but with the right elements it can be accomplished.  We also want to acknowledge the plaintiffs in the Qualcomm gender discrimination lawsuit we did in 2017 for paving the way for the Western Digital case.”

In addition to the $7.75 million payment, the settlement also requires Western Digital to institute comprehensive programmatic relief designed to ensure equity, objectivity, and transparency in pay and promotions for women at the company. The measures include creating a plan to increase the number of women hired and promoted to leadership, educating employees on non-discrimination policies, conducting gender equity statistical analyses , and revamping the company’s internal complaint procedures. Western Digital will also appoint an internal compliance monitor, who will ensure the implementation and compliance with the settlement agreement and provide reports to the attorneys representing the class.


Medina Orthwein represented State Prison Psychologist, Lori Jespersen, in her discrimination and whistleblower claims against the California Department of Corrections for exposing LGBTQ and Prisoner Abuse. A California prison psychologist who alleged in a lawsuit that guards locked her in a cell with a convicted rapist after she spoke up on behalf of transgender inmates. “Ms. Jespersen is happy in the sense that her complaints were not in vain, that her advocacy for herself and her community were not going to be wasted,” Attorney Felicia Medina said. “She wanted CDCR to be aware that people are going to come forward.” Read more here.

$19.5 Million Gender Discrimination Settlement Provides Comprehensive Programmatic Relief for Qualcomm Women in Stem

“The abstract commitment to workplace equality for women will never become a reality without tangible commitments to transparency and guaranteed freedom from reprisal,” said Felicia Medina. “Without those and other concrete structural changes, lofty promises for diversity and equality go unfulfilled. By paying $19.5 million in monetary relief and agreeing to additional costs associated with instituting internal changes, Qualcomm is investing in real equity for its current employees and for a rising generation of women in tech.” Read more here.


Medina Orthwein represented Zola Mashariki, a former BET executive, in her claims against the media conglomerate. Ms. Mashariki stated the discrimination she endured was rooted in a misogynistic culture. BET & Viacom settled the suit in December 2017. Read more here.