News first broke that Disney had fired 250 IT employees at Disney World and Disney Land in October 2014. Disney said in a statementthat the firings were due to “restructuring our global technology organization to support future innovation and new capabilities.”
As part of the restructuring, Disney reportedly told the 250 fired employees that they had 90 days to reapply for new jobs with the theme park. But those employees were actually hired to train their replacement, the New York Times reports:
“Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.”
The replacements were brought in from India under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ H-1B visa program. The program allows people from other countries with advanced degrees in high-demand fields to apply for an H-1B visa to come to America.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called for a Senate investigation into the matter in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Nelson said the program was created to “help fill jobs when there were labor shortages, not take jobs away from anyone.”
To make matters worse for the fired Disney employees, they said a number of employers in the area said they couldn’t hire Disney employees until a year after their termination.