Redundant US Workers To Sue Disney, HCL and Cognizant
Walt Disney, HCL Technologies and Cognizant are being sued by two former employees of Walt Disney World in Orlando for violating U.S laws and having them replaced with cheaper foreign employees on temporary H-1 visas.
Leo Perrero and Dena Moore are former Disney employees who are now suing the Disney for being wrongfully terminated. They were part of the two hundred and fifty I.T workers who were laid off by Disney last year. They were given 90 days in which they were to train guest workers from a contractor, after which they asked to re-apply for ‘better’ jobs within the company.
In a statement, Sara Blackwell, the attorney representing them said,
The compensation aspect of the lawsuit is secondary. What we are seeking first is an ending of the blatant and constant abuse of the H-1B visa programme by American companies and their foreign collaborators.
The L-1 and H-1B visa issued by the U.S is used by companies to bring in skilled foreign workers, but Perrero claims that the new workers from India were extremely young and very inexperienced. He and his colleagues had to train them extensively during the 90-day period to be able to complete the tasks they were accustomed to doing on a daily basis. These guest workers first watched and later recorded Disney employees performing their tasks on audio and video.
During the second month, these guest workers worked alongside Moore and Perrero and finally in the third month they took over the tasks. All the American employees at that stage were then asked to monitor these guest workers and ensure that there were no errors in the tasks they were performing. Perrero described the entire experience as humiliating.
Disney has issued a statement saying that the lawsuits are “based on an unsustainable legal theory and is a wholesale misrepresentation of facts.” The company stated that it had re-hired 100 of these laid-off employees and also Moore another job with a similar pay structure. This claim was refuted by Moore’s attorney who stated that the job offered was nothing more than a 30 day contract. HCL Technologies and Cognizant Technologies are suspected of being the two companies involved in sending guest workers over to the U.S.
Both HCL Technologies and Cognizant have issued statements separately saying that they are in compliance with all necessary US visa guidelines and requirements. Cognizant also said that it pays its H-1B employees at or above the required compensation and ensures that the pay is comparable to that of their American counterparts.
The Indian IT industry has been widely using the H-1B visas to transfer its executives to the U.S to work on its client sites. The outsourcing and skilled visa issuance has been in the news recently in view of the approaching US Presidential elections and also due to the fact that the U.S has now hiked its visa fees for its H1-B and L1 visas to $4,000 and $4,500 respectively.