Layoffs: Case filed vs Disney, HCL, Cognizant aims to stop "systemic abuse" of immigration

Disney World and two outsourcing companies have been slapped with a federal lawsuit by two of its former technology staff alleging that they conspired to displace American workers with cheaper foreign labour brought to the US on H-1B visas, mostly from India.

The two former employees -– Leo Perrero and Dena Moore, who were among 250 Disney tech workers laid off from their jobs at Walt Disney World in Orlando in January 2015 -– have also dragged two IT companies HCL and Cognizant Technologies into this class action lawsuit.

People walk in front of the HCL Technologies Ltd office at Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi 17 April 2013. Reuters

HCL Technologies office at Noida. Reuters

The lawsuit aims to “kick them (outsourcing companies) at their business model, to stop them from systemically abusing the immigration system,” said their attorney Sara Blackwell in a statement.

However, Disney denied having done any wrongdoing. “These lawsuits are based on an unsustainable legal theory and are a wholesale misrepresentation of the facts,” the company said in a statement.

Disney said it hired more than 100 people back into other roles and offered Moore another position at comparable pay. It said hundreds of employers use H-1B visas and it complies with all the applicable employment laws.

In a statement, Cognizant claimed that it fully complies with all US regulations regarding H-1B visas. “We have a robust internal compliance team that ensures our practices are not merely compliant with existing laws in letter and spirit, but also adhere to best practices,” the company said.

The lawsuit alleges that Disney along with HCL and Cognizant violated federal law as the outsourcing firms mislead when filling out forms to sponsor workers for the visas.

“Every time they file these, they are lying and falsifying documents. Disney is aware there are these requirements and Cognizant and HCL are lying,” Blackwell said.


Updated Date: Jan 27, 2016 12:59 PM

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