Lawsuits Claim Disney Colluded to Replace U.S. Workers with Immigrants

Julia Preston, New York Times, January 25, 2016

Even after Leo Perrero was laid off a year ago from his technology job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.–and spent his final months there training a temporary immigrant from India to do his work–he still hoped to find a new position in the vast entertainment company.

But Mr. Perrero discovered that despite his high performance ratings, he and most of the other 250 tech workers Disney dismissed would not be rehired for at least a year, and probably never.

Now he and Dena Moore, another American laid off by Disney at that time, have filed lawsuits in federal court in Tampa, Fla., against Disney and two global consulting companies, HCL and Cognizant, which brought in foreign workers who replaced them. They claim the companies colluded to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, knowing that Americans would be displaced.

“I don’t have to be angry or cause drama,” said Ms. Moore, 53, who had worked at Disney for 10 years. “But they are just doing things to save a buck, and it’s making Americans poor.”

Ms. Moore had also trained her replacement. After she was laid off, she applied for more than 150 other jobs at Disney. She did not get one.

The lawsuits by Mr. Perrero and Ms. Moore, who each filed a separate but similar complaint on Monday seeking class-action status, represent the first time Americans have gone to federal court to sue both outsourcing companies that imported immigrants and the American company that contracted with those businesses, claiming that they collaborated intentionally to supplant Americans with H-1B workers.

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Disney, in a statement on Monday, said, “These lawsuits are based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts.” The company said more than 100 of the workers who were laid off in Orlando had been rehired.

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