Nearshore Americas

Former Disney Employees Sue the Company, HCL and Cognizant Over H1-B Visa Abuse

Two U.S. citizens have sued their former employer Walt Disney World over H1-B visa abuse, accusing the entertainment giant of colluding with outsourcing companies to displace American workers. The lawsuits, filed in a Tampa federal court and filed by former employees Leo Perrero and Dena Moore, named Indian outsourcing firms HCL and Cognizant as two other defendants.
The news that Disney replaced 250 tech workers with cheap immigrant laborers first hit headlines last year. Perrero and Moore say they were given 90 days to train their foreign replacements and were even threatened that they would not be eligible for bonuses or severance package if they refused to train.
By law, H1-B workers can’t replace American workers, and the suit alleges that that is exactly what the three companies did. The Indian firms are facing the charge of bringing in the workers who replaced Perrero and Moore. Indians make up the majority among U.S. tech employees with H1-B visa.
Sara Blackwell, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the lawsuit was aimed at stopping abuses in the U.S. immigration system, the Orlando Sentinel reported. According to the lawsuits, the firms are in violation of federal law as they mislead employees while filling out firms to sponsor workers for the visas.
Walt Disney said it hired back more than 100 laid-off employees and even offered Perrero a job at comparable pay. In the past year, at least 30 former Disney workers have also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal employer watchdog, claiming that they faced discrimination as U.S. citizens.
In response to the lawsuit, Cognizant has stated that it fully complies with all U.S. regulations regarding H-1B visas and that it has a “robust internal compliance team” that ensures that the company adheres to best practices.
Created in 1990, the H1-B visa program is designed to deal with a paucity of American workers, particularly in technology sectors.

Sign up for our Nearshore Americas newsletter:

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

Add comment