Disney discrimination suit headed to Florida court


The lawyer representing 30 ousted Disney IT workers has filed a motion to pull the federal lawsuit alleging the theme park giant misused the H-1B visa program and plans to refile it in state court.

Sarasota Attorney Sara Blackwell said Tuesday that she is seeking the best route to penalize Disney for firing 250 American workers and hiring 250 Indian nationals to take their jobs.

Walt Disney Parks & Resorts asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit in February, saying the suit failed to state claims of intentional discrimination and that employees were hired by commercial vendors, not Disney.

The Disney workers were forced to train their replacements before leaving and filed severance documents agreeing not to talk about their dismissals, according to Blackwell.

“This is not just at Disney but it’s happening all over the country,” Blackwell said. “We will not stop fighting. It’s the CEOs and executives who are doing wrong by paying foreigners less in wages. They’re all using the same business models.”

Companies have used H-1B visas to save money by hiring foreign employees who work for less pay and no benefits. The visas allow employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in specialty occupations.

Blackwell said IT employees are losing their jobs at Toys R Us, Carnival Cruise Line, Emblem Health, Saks Fifth Avenue and McDonald’s. She added that Equifax and Target, which also hired Indian workers at cheaper pay, had “huge breaches in security.”

“This is not about being anti-immigration or racist, it’s about fairness and not exploiting workers,” said the attorney who founded the Blackwell Firm and Protect US Workers.

The lawsuit claims Disney “acted with malice and reckless disregard” when the company laid off 250 employees in October 2014 after outsourcing some of its information technology functions to an Indian vendor.


Terry Roen

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

One comment

  • Dan

    September 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Using a third party to avert & abuse the Law is no defense, but common practice. The use of HB1 & HB2 Visas are to fill positions that could not be filled by U.S. Citizens. This is obviously not the case, the purpose was to import cheap labor and reduce the value of citizen labor. In our new tax reform, I propose that Personal deductions ($2,600/yr) and ALL child care credits be limited to U.S. Citizens ONLY. NO HB1, HB2, DACA Green Card Holders, Legal residence or illegal aliens.

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