Two former employees of Disney World — Leo Perrero and Dena Moore — have sued the company and two outsourcing firms for replacing them with immigrant workers, mostly from India.
Walt Disney World in Orlando laid off around 250 tech workers in January last year. The workers said they were told to train their replacements, i.e., foreign workers with H-1B visas, in 90 days. And, if they fail to do so, they won’t get bonuses or severance packages. Though Disney World said workers would get another job in the company with comparable pay; however, that did not happen.
Perrero, who had high performance ratings, wasn’t rehired. Moore, 53, applied for more than 150 other jobs at Disney, but she did not get one.
Leo Perrero was laid off a year ago at Walt Disney World
The lawsuit filed by them seek class-action status. They have gone to Tampa Florida federal court alleging that outsourcing companies, HCL Inc and Cognizant Technologies, collaborated with Disney World to replace Americans workers with H-1B workers. According to the law, the employer had to declare to the Department of Labor about hiring H-1B visas workers (foreign workers with special skills into the country) and the hiring shouldn’t affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. The quota for H-1B visas is set at 85,000 each year by the Congress. “Was I negatively affected? Yeah, I was. I lost my job,” said Moore.
Dena Moore, another employee, who was laid off at Disney.
However, Disney said in a statement:
“These lawsuits are based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts.”
The company said it hired more than 100 people back into other roles and offered Dena Moore another position.
The layoff furor also brought to light cases of American workers who lost their job to foreigners on H-1B visas and had to train them as per condition of their severance.
Former Disney World employees’s attorney, Sara Blackwell, said, “Disney was not the only company using outsourcing firms to hire immigrants to replace American workers. But they’re one of the first to be caught.” She added that severance agreement, which offers as much as $20,000 prevents employees from suing or speaking out about the firm.
Protest by American workers few years back.