Walt Disney World Lawsuit Says Foreigners Illegally Replaced American Jobs During Disney Layoffs

Walt Disney World Lawsuit Says Foreigners Illegally Replaced American Jobs During Disney Layoffs

A Walt Disney World lawsuit filed against the House of Mouse claims the Walt Disney company colluded to replace American workers with cheaper foreigners living and working within the United States based upon the H-1B visa program. The Disney lawsuit was filed by two former Walt Disney World tech employees in a federal court on Monday, accusing the company of conspiring with outsourcing firms HCL Inc. and Cognizant Technologies.

The H-1B visa program is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit and employ non-immigrant foreign professionals within specialty occupations within the United States for a specified period of time. It is intended for foreigners with specialty skills to fill job vacancies left by a domestic skills gap, not replace the domestic work force when American workers are available to fill the positions. Created in 1990, the H-1B visa program is capped at 85,000 visas per year, with each visa lasting for six years.

[Image via Visa Reporter]
[Image via Visa Reporter]
Leo Perrero and Dena Moore were among 250 Walt Disney World tech workers who were let go back in 2015, but the Disney layoffs continued into the summer. Disney employees in New York and Burbank were told they would be losing their jobs and that their positions were being outsourced to immigrant workers with temporary visas, including H-1B visas. Even American workers with “good performance reviews” were told they were going to train their replacements in their final days, but suddenly executives in Disney’s tech department reversed the decision.

“We were read a precisely worded statement. We were told our jobs were continuing and we should consider it as if nothing had happened until further notice,” said an unnamed source at the time.

Why were the Disney layoffs canceled? Another unnamed Disney IT department worker said the decision was solely based upon the public backlash Walt Disney was receiving. The Disney worker said, “They want this to go away — right now.” But the controversy did not disappear as the Disney lawsuit proves. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Sara Blackwell, an attorney for Perrero and Moore, said the they’re seeking a class-action status in order to “kick them [outsourcing companies] at their business model, to stop them from systemically abusing the immigration system.”


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Cognizant replied to the Disney World lawsuit by claiming the outsourcing company “fully complies with all U.S. regulations regarding H-1B visas. We have a robust internal compliance team that ensures our practices are not merely compliant with existing laws in letter and spirit, but also adhere to best practices.” In the past, Cognizant spokesperson Jacquee Whaler said the arrangement with H-1B vias was part of Disney’s restructuring process.

“We have restructured our global technology organization to significantly increase our cast member focus on future innovation and new capabilities, and are continuing to work with leading technical firms to maintain our existing systems as needed.”

The Disney lawsuit claims both HCL and Cognizant broke federal law because they falsely claimed in written documents that “similarly situated employees would not be adversely affected.”

“Every time they file these, they are lying and falsifying documents,” Blackwell said. “Disney is aware there are these requirements and Cognizant and HCL are lying.”

Moore told the New York Times that she had to train her replacement after being laid off after 10 years of working with Disney World. She tried applying for one of the many Disney positions within the company, but did not receive a job offer.

“I don’t have to be angry or cause drama,” said Moore. “But they are just doing things to save a buck, and it’s making Americans poor. Was I negatively affected? Yeah, I was. I lost my job.”

The Disney company has responded to the lawsuits by saying they are “based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts.”

 [Image via LucasFilm/Disney]
[Image via LucasFilm/Disney]
Editor’s note: Disney has reached out to the Inquisitr with the following statement.

“This lawsuit is completely and utterly baseless. The fact is that, since our reorganization, Disney Parks has hired more than 140 US IT workers, and is currently recruiting candidates to fill over 100 more IT positions. Additionally, we also rehired more than 100 workers affected by the reorganization into other roles in the company. The complaints by one of the plaintiffs, Ms. Moore, that she was not offered a position are completely false — she was offered a position at comparable pay and turned it down. Those are the facts.”

Facts regarding New York Times reporting on this issue: The NY Times has deliberately and continuously misrepresented the facts to further its own agenda, while regularly failing to disclose the fact that the Times itself is a user of the H-1B program. In fact, the Times only belatedly disclosed that it secured an H-1B visa for its current President and CEO Mark Thompson, who replaced an American CEO after her 28 years of service, and by its own admission has 70 employees currently working in the US on foreign work visas.

Do you think Walt Disney World went to the dark side with the Disney layoffs?

[Image via Twitter]

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