Disney said Tuesday that it will pay over 125,000 employees in the U.S. a one-time cash bonus of $1,000, as well as make a new $50 million investment into an education program for employees.
“I am proud we are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program,” Disney chief Bob Iger said. “I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact.”
Disney IT workers laid off a year ago this month are now accusing the company and the outsourcing firms it hired of engaging in a “conspiracy to displace U.S. workers.” The allegations are part of two lawsuits filed in federal court in Florida on Monday.
Between 200 and 300 Disney IT workers were laid off in January 2015. Some of the workers had to train their foreign replacements — workers on H-1B visas — as a condition of severance.
The lawsuits represent what may be a new approach in the attack on the use of H-1B workers to replace U.S. workers. They allege violations of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), claiming that the nature of the employment of the H-1B workers was misrepresented, and that Disney and the contractors knew the ultimate intent was to replace U.S. workers with lower paid H-1B workers.
The lawsuits cite a form that H-1B employers fill out when placing a visa worker, the Labor Condition Application (LCA).
In the LCA, an employer states the job location, salaries paid to the H-1B workers and also attests that U.S. workers will not be “adversely affected.”
But former Disney IT workers Dena Moore and Leo Perrero, in their respective lawsuits, allege that they were indeed adversely affected. They had to train their foreign replacements brought in by contractors, and then were terminated.
Both lawsuits name Disney as a defendant; additionally, Moore is suing Cognizant and Perrero is suing HCL.