Omarosa Manigault (Getty/Drew Angerer)

Omarosa accuses Trump campaign of gender pay discrimination

"I have since seen expert analysis confirming this to be true. The numbers don't lie," Manigault-Newman said


Shira Tarlo
May 13, 2019 8:45PM (UTC)

Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former contestant on "The Apprentice" who campaigned for President Trump and later worked for him in the White House, on Monday accused her former boss of gender pay discrimination in new court documents.

Manigault-Newman made the allegations in a declaration submitted with a proposed collective action lawsuit against Trump. The lawsuit is being spearheaded by Alva Johnson, who alleged in February that the campaign paid her less than her white and male counterparts and that Trump forcibly kissed her before an August 2016 rally in Florida.

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"While I strongly suspected I was subjected to pay discrimination while with the Trump Campaign, I have since seen expert analysis confirming this to be true. The numbers don't lie," Manigault-Newman said in a statement to Salon. She served as director of African American outreach for Trump's 2016 campaign and then as communications director for the White House's Office of Public Liaison.

Manigault-Newman's declaration specifically mentions Bryan Lanza, the former Trump for President deputy communications director and a member of Trump's transition team, as an aide "whose work required substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility as mine" but "was paid more than me."

Manigault-Newman was fired from the White House in December of 2017.

"After nearly 20 years inside the beltway, working for two White Houses and countless political campaigns, I've never witnessed such egregious violations as I did during my time under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mike Pence," Manigault-Newman said in her statement. "I am joining this effort for women and minorities to help level the playing field in the political arena between men and women. It is time for all of us to blow the whistle on the wrongdoings of this campaign."

In Monday's motion, Johnson's lawyer, Hassan Zavareei, asked a judge to certify the lawsuit as a collective action, citing Manigault-Newman's claims and an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings that allegedly show the campaign "maintained a common policy, uniformly applicable to all members of the putative collective, of paying female employees less than their male counterparts for the same or similar work."

"A preliminary analysis of the Campaign's publicly available disbursement data for May through December of 2016, which demonstrates that, excluding a small handful of employees in senior leadership roles, on average, females were paid $3,865 monthly and males were paid $4,568 — a stunning gap of 18.2%," the court document reads.

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Johnson's initial complaint, filed in February, alleged that her "compensation was substantially lower than that paid to other campaign staff who had the same responsibilities as she did." She identified several men who were allegedly paid more than she was despite having the same responsibilities.

"This case is about two things: Donald Trump's predation, and his campaign's discrimination against women and people of color," Zavareei said Monday in a statement to Salon. "Our filing today advances our claim for sex discrimination by seeking collective action certification on behalf of female campaign staffers."

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He added, "If our motion is granted, we will be able to provide notice to other female employees to invite them to join the lawsuit."


Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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