Disney sued for replacing American workers with Indians

15 Dec 2016 | By Supriya

Disney is being sued by a group of former IT employees in the US state of Florida.

Former employees have accused Disney of discrimination for firing them only to replace them with workers "of Indian national origin".

In October 2014, Disney informed 250 IT employees in their Orlando office that they would be let go within 90 days.

In context: Disney in trouble for replacing American workers

BackgroundThe Disney Case

Disney's Orlando office gave 250 IT employees the pink slip in 2014 and gave them a 90-day termination notice.

Disney reportedly very quickly brought in replacements in place of those fired: some of these replacements would work remotely and others would come to the US on H-1B visas.

The company also expected that replacements were given training by those whom they were replacing.

H-1B Visas

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa which allows US companies to employ graduate level workers and above in specialized fields such as finance, accounting, IT, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine and more.
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15 Dec 2016Disney sued for replacing American workers with Indians

Plaintiffs' accusations and demands

DetailsPlaintiffs' accusations and demands

In the class-action lawsuit filed by former employees, Disney has been accused of creating a "hostile work environment" for asking fired workers to train replacements.

Plaintiffs claim Disney inflicted "mental anguish, emotional distress": fired workers were reportedly threatened that if they didn't train new workforce, they would not receive their severance.

The plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial and unspecified damages.

StatementDisney dismisses plaintiffs' claims

The new class-action lawsuit has been filed two months after a Florida federal judge tossed out two lawsuits also from former Disney workers concerning layoffs.

The judge had ruled that Disney alongwith outsourcing contractors didn't violate any rules in switching jobs.

Disney, relying on the former ruling, said that just like earlier cases, "This latest lawsuit is nonsense and we will defend it vigorously".

ReasonsWhy is this class-action lawsuit significant?

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly spoken about ending abuse of H-1B visas.

As recent as December 10, Trump allegedly referred to Disney World and other American companies who replaced American workers with H-1B visa holders and said, "We won't let this happen anymore".

In recent weeks, Indian companies in US (Infosys, Wipro, TCS) have significantly increased local hiring and percentage of H-1B is reducing.