Former staff drop H-1B visa case against Disney, may try other options

Photo: Shutterstock

A group of former Disney employees has dropped their lawsuit against the entertainment giant in which they accused it of discrimination by replacing them with H-1B visa holders, mostly Indians.

The announcement came on Wednesday after years of court battles.

"We have lost. Unfortunately, we lost because it's legal," Sara Blackwell, the US attorney who had filed a lawsuit on behalf of the 250 Disney IT workers in 2014 told reporters during a news conference.

Since then, Blackwell had filed four lawsuits against Disney on behalf of the fired American IT workers. She lost all. In one of the cases, a federal judge told her that Disney was following immigration law of the country.

"As we have said all along, these lawsuits were completely baseless," a Disney spokeswoman said after Blackwell announced that the workers were now giving up.

Blackwell claimed that those supporting H-1B visas had the number to influence the system. Companies across the US are following similar business models like that of Disney and Americans workers are being replaced by foreigners, she alleged.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on H-1B to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

The fired Disney workers announced that they would look for other avenues to press for their case.

They rued that US President Donald Trump has not been able to come to their rescue so far.

In a conference call, the workers said that Frontier Communications recently announced outsourcing/offshoring plans to its employees.

"Immigration Voice is a group of millions of Indians fighting for green cards. They have the power of numbers. They are able to speak out without fear that the fears for which they typically have of speaking out because of the large number of them speaking out together," according to a summary of the conference call with fired workers released by Blackwell.

"You cannot win a lawsuit against them, because this is a legal way of doing business. And if you are outraged, then you need to do something about it. This is what President Trump spoke to," Blackwell told a local news channel in an interview yesterday as she referred to the promises made by Trump to American workers during his election campaign.

Former Disney employee Leo Perrero told local ABC7 that he is extremely disappointed at the turn of events.

"(We are) extremely disappointed to see results from one of most iconic companies in our country to do this," he rued.


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel