Two ex-employees of Walt Disney Co. have filed lawsuits against the entertainment giant, claiming it is replacing Americans with low-paid immigrants to save a few bucks.
Leo Perrero and Dena Moore filed two separate but similar claims Monday at the U.S. District Court in Orlando, Florida, which names the two companies that brought in the immigrants, HCL Inc. and Cognizant Technologies as co-defendants.
About 250 employees of the media conglomerate were told in October 2014 that they would be laid off and their jobs would be transferred to immigrants with temporary guest visas.
The Disney employees were even forced to train their replacements to do the job they had just lost. Disney officials said that the move was part of structural reorganization and the immigrants brought in (mostly from India) had a higher skill set than their present employees. They also said the company opened more positions than it closed, but Moore, who applied for 150 other jobs at Disney, was unable to bag a single one. Critics maintain the employers abuse the U.S. immigration laws to bring in cheaper laborers and that the system is discriminatory for U.S. citizens.
Perrero, who said his ancestry is “part Italian, part English, part Swedish,” told The New York Times, “I wholeheartedly believe our country needs to have amazing people come here to build a long-term foundation.”
At least 30 other former Disney employees also filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that they faced discrimination as U.S. workers.
The media and entertainment company did not comment on the allegations and both HCL Inc. and Cognizant Technologies claim they are careful of American laws. In hiring workers with H-1B visas, all U.S. companies must first assure the Department of Labor that their recruitment policies will in no way “adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.”
“Was I negatively affected?” Dena Moore asked. “Yeah, I was. I lost my job.”
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