At least 23 former IT workers of Disney have filed formal complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in regards to their jobs being replaced overseas. By filing these complaints, the ex-Disney workers have taken the first step towards filing a lawsuit against the company for alleged discrimination.
The IT employees are saying that they are victims of national origin discrimination. This type of discrimination is becoming increasingly common, as more American workers have been replaced by foreigners who are working on H-1B visas and other temporary work programs.
Many of the former workers have even been forced to train their new replacements. Additionally, a large number of the ex-Disney employees were laid off because of their age, and they were replaced by younger foreign workers who would accept less pay.
Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler has insisted that the company did nothing wrong, writing in an email, “We comply with all applicable employment laws. We are expanding our IT department and adding more jobs for US IT workers."
Last January, Disney laid off a large portion of its IT workers. The company then reached a series of agreements with IT services contractors that utilize foreign labor. The majority of the foreign workers are from India. Since then, many former workers of Disney have made their complaints known to the public. In fact, this might be the single largest case of former workers taking such action against a company.
Some people believe that this issue will have a big impact on the upcoming presidential election. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is based in Orlando, FL, the same city where the majority of the Disney workers were laid off. Rubio is a supporter of increasing the limit of foreign workers who can come to the United States on a work visa. Increasing the limit would certainly cause even more American workers to be laid off.
Time will tell if the former Disney workers will be able to win their cases in court.