Shortly after a major recession, stories of people losing their jobs are common, but those lost jobs are usually a result of a company downsizing and eliminating that employee’s position. It’s less common to hear a story of an employee with a good track record losing their job so their employer can hire cheap foreign labor, but the lead plaintiffs in two new lawsuits against Disney, HCL, and Cognizant, allege that’s exactly what happened to them after they had dedicated several years to working at the major entertainment company.
Leo Perrero and Dena Moore filed separate, but similar, complaints seeking class action status against Disney and the two global consulting companies. According to the complaints, Disney is allegedly colluding with HCL and Cognizant to abuse H-1B visas that are meant to bring in temporary workers from overseas.
Congress designed H-1B visas to bring into the country workers with special skills from other countries. Employers that use workers with H-1B visas are required to swear an oath to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that their use of workers on H-1B visas will not adversely affect the working conditions of any U.S. workers employed in a similar capacity. The lawsuits allege Disney lied under oath when it made this promise to the DOL.
Disney denies all the allegations, claiming more than 100 of the workers who lost their jobs have been rehired to other positions in the company.
Perrero and Moore are just two of the more than 200 tech employees who lost their jobs at Disney to workers brought in from other countries on H-1B visas. The tech workers are a fairly close-knit group, and despite Disney’s claims of rehiring most of those who were laid off, Perrero said he knows of only two workers who were rehired.
Perrero and Moore themselves have both applied to multiple positions at Disney, with Moore saying she has applied to more than 150 jobs with her former employer, but neither has been rehired by the company in any capacity. Perrero also alleges he was told by recruiters that, despite Disney’s official statements, managers had said they were going to avoid hiring former Disney employees who had lost their jobs.
The two plaintiffs allege this failure to rehire them – as well as the many other former Disney tech employees – constitutes an abuse of the H-1B visas and Disney’s oath to the Department of Labor that their use of workers on H-1B visas would not adversely affect American workers.
Congress has responded to the frustration expressed by many American workers (not just Perrero and Moore) that companies are taking advantage of foreign workers coming into the country on H-1B visas to replace American employees in order to save money. Congress had formerly charged companies using workers on H-1B visas a fee of $2,000 for each new H-1B visa. Congress had allowed this fee to lapse, but it has recently renewed it and doubled it so that the fee is now $4,000 for each new H-1B visa. A bill has also been introduced to the Senate that would drastically increase the minimum wage for H-1B workers to $110,000 in order to discourage companies from hiring them over American workers.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Disney, Holiday Inn, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Midlothian and Blue Island. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Gurnee and Ivanhoe overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.