The media giant Disney is being sued by two separate former employees who accuse the company of replacing them illegally with immigrant labor through H-1B visas.
H-1B visas allows companies to employ foreign non-immigrant workers for specialty occupations that require theoretical or specialist expertise such as engineering, mathematics or science.
The two employees suing Disney, Dena Moore and Leo Perrero are just two of 250 employees laid off by Disney a year ago and brought their lawsuits to a Federal Court in Tampa, Fla., on Monday against Disney and consulting firms HCL and Cognizant, who were the ones who brought in the immigrant workers.
The suit claims that Disney was hiring the immigrant workers because they were cheaper than American employees, which is discrimination that is not allowed under the H-1B program.
“Was I negatively affected?” Moore said. “Yeah, I was. I lost my job.”
According to Leo Perrero’s lawsuit, “HCL must have swore under oath . . . that the working conditions of similarly situated workers would not be adversely affected and/or U.S. workers would not be displaced.”
“Plaintiff alleges and news reports and research document that the program to (sic) adversely affect the working conditions of similarly situated workers by displacement of Disney workers and replacing them with less qualified but cheaper foreign workers contracted from HCL,” the lawsuit says.
Dena Moore and Leo Perrero’s lawsuits could open up the possibility for a class action lawsuit against Disney for the 250 laid-off workers if it proves to be successful.
“These lawsuits are based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts,” Disney said in a statement.
Cognizant, one of the consulting firms named in the suit responded to the allegations by saying that it “fully complies with all U.S. regulations regarding H-1B visas.”
The Disney workers who were laid-off were told that they had to train their immigrant replacement or they would lose their severance pay.
“It was humiliating to train someone to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it,” one unnamed former Disney employee is quoted as saying.
[RT America] [New York Times]