New Delhi: Disney World was accused of replacing workers with less costly foreign ones using H-1B visas, mostly from India by two class action suits and two outsourcing firms calling it a conspiracy.
The lawsuits have been filed by Leo Perrero and Dena Moore in a Tampa Florida federal court. Leo and Dena were among 250 dismissed tech workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando in January 2015, according to Orlando Sentinel.
The tech workers were told they had 90 days to train their replacements with foreign workers with H-1B visas for high-skilled workers. If they didn’t agree, they weren’t eligible for bonuses or severance packages.
According to CNN Money, defendants include HCL Inc and Cognizant Technologies, two outsourcing companies, known for submitting a high volume of H-1B petitions each year.
Each year the Congress set a quota of 85,000 H-1B visas.
“These lawsuits are based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts,” Disney said in a statement.
The company argued that it hired more than 100 people back into other roles and Dena Moore was offered another position at comparable pay.
Disney said it satisfy all applicable employment laws taking into account that hundreds of employers use H-1B visas.
The lawsuits were brought by attorney Sara Blackwell, who also brought the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filings on behalf of former Disney workers. She said Disney was not the only company using outsourcing firms to hire immigrants to replace American workers.
But they are the first one to be caught. Typically, companies require employees to sign a severance agreement preventing them from suing or speaking out about the firm. The Company usually offers as much as $20,000, she said.
“Disney didn’t have that. They failed to put the ‘You can’t sue, you can’t talk’ clause,” said Sara.
The New York Times, which first reported the news, said Leo Perrero spent his final months at Walt Disney World in Orlando training a temporary immigrant from India to do his work.
He still hoped to find a new position in the vast entertainment company, it said.
But soon he was sure that despite his high-performance ratings, he and other laid off tech workers would not be rehired for at least a year, and probably never.
A furor over the layoffs in Orlando last January brought to light many other episodes in which American workers said they had lost jobs to foreigners on H-1B visas and had to train replacements as a condition of their severance, the Times said.(IANS)(Image-Disney)