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Disney sued for replacing American workers with cost effective ones

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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)

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Microsoft Ready to Help Indian Startups, Says President Anant Maheshwari

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Armed with a cutting-edge technology platform, a well-established partner organisation and an expansion of M12 venture fund, Microsoft is ready to help Indian startups across the spectrum embrace the next phase of growth, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said here on Monday.

India, which saw a tremendous growth in the startup space in the last couple of years, is now witnessing a growth in the business-to-business (B2B) tech startups coming up with innovative ideas to deal with local problems.

“With our intelligent tech expertise, deep focus on trust and unique global go to market partnering, we empower unicorns and startups to scale sustainably at a global level,” said Maheshwari.

“We remain excited about India’s entrepreneurial startup potential and will continue to accelerate it as a growth engine for the economy,” he added.

India witnessed a dramatic rise of eight unicorns in 2018 from among the start-ups across verticals as against a mere nine in six years from 2011 till 2017, according to IT industry apex body Nasscom.

The start-ups joining the select club for their valuation over $1 billion are Oyo Rooms (hospitality), Zomato and Swiggy (food delivery), Udaan (retailer marketplace), Byju’s, (edu-tech), Paytm Mall (e-tail), Freshworks (software programmer) and Policybazaar (digital insurance).

Maheshwari said Microsoft is uniquely positioned to support Indian startups to achieve scale and evolve from market ready to enterprise ready.

Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

The introduction of M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, in India in February is creating new value for startups, VCs and the company itself to maintain the pace and direction of innovation.

“M12 is looking at investing in innovators who have aligned their focus on cutting-edge technologies that better enable digital transformation. The portfolio development team at M12 is specifically built to help support and scale companies by leveraging the expansive resources of Microsoft,” said the company.

According to reports, venture capital investments in Indian tech business-to-business (B2B) start-ups have been trending upwards, with over $3.09 billion raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018 — 28 per cent more than $2.41 billion in 2017.

Also Read: Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

Under the “Microsoft for Startups” initiative, startups can co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech VCs in the global arena and mentorship from industry veterans.

In less than 18 months, Microsoft for Startups has closed more than 120 co-sell deals with more than $126 million in active pipeline for startups.

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months. (IANS)