Leo Perrero, a former employee at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has joined other former Walt Disney World employees in a lawsuit against the company. During Perrero’s last few months, he trained a temporary immigrant from India to do his work. He had hoped that he would be able to stay employed at Walt Disney World despite losing his technology job. Perrero quickly discovered that would not be the case. Nearly all 250 tech workers that were dismissed will most likely not be rehired.
Perrero is now working with another American that lost her job at Disney, Dena Moore. They filed lawsuits in federal court in Tampa, Florida, against Disney, HCL, and Cognizant. HCL and Cognizant brought in the foreign workers that replaced them. Their lawsuits claim that the companies planned to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, with the full knowledge that Americans would be losing their jobs. This was the first time that Americans have sued both the outsourcing companies and the American company that contracted with those companies, claiming that the companies intentionally replaced Americans with H-1B workers. The lawsuits that they filed were based on the rules set by congress which state that employers are required to declare to the Department of Labor that hiring foreigners on visas “will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.”
Ms. Moore trained her replacement as well. Following her lay off, she applied for over 150 other jobs at Disney and did not get any of them. “I don’t have to be angry or cause drama. But they are just doing things to save a buck, and it’s making Americans poor,” said Ms. Moore.
Upwards of 30 former Disney employees have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with claims that they faced discrimination as American citizens. The Labor Department is investigating the outsourcing companies that are involved in the mass lay off of hundreds of American workers in 2015.
“Was I negatively affected? Yeah, I was. I lost my job,” said Ms. Moore.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D) Florida, has been very publicly against Disney’s layoffs, offered a bill to lower the H-1B quota significantly. The issue even surfaced during the presidential race, where Sen. Ted Cruz proposed a bill with Sen. Jeff Sessions to drastically raise the minimum wage for H-1B workers to $110,000 a year, in an attempt to discourage outsourcing companies from using the foreign workers to lower wages.