Blacklist Update: Evidence Piles Up, Disney Maintains Denial

Rachel Stoltzfoos | Staff Reporter

Evidence Disney put the American tech workers it laid off in January on a “blacklist” that disqualified them from hire for contracting work continues to build, although Disney continues to deny such a list ever existed.

Two more of the laid off workers have provided The Daily Caller News Foundation evidence corroborating the initial report that Disney blacklisted the workers from contracting work with Disney for one year, after laying them off and forcing them to train their foreign replacements.

Privately, Disney “loosened the reigns” on the policy following that report, emails obtained by TheDCNF from a recruiting firm show. But Disney has denied and continues to deny the blacklist ever existed, and blames the growing pile of evidence to the contrary on “misinformation.”

“As we have previously stated, there is no policy preventing outside vendors from hiring our former employees,” Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty told TheDCNF.

“We have reached out to vendors to clarify any misinformation, and encourage any vendor or former employee who has questions to contact us directly,” she added.

A total of now three accounts from workers affected by the layoffs contradict Disney’s statement — each of them encountered the blacklist, from as early as January to as recently as June. They spoke to TheDCNF on condition of anonymity for legal reasons and job protection. (RELATED: Zuckerberg Ally On Americans Losing Jobs To Foreign Labor: ‘This Is What This Whole Country Is Built O’)

The laid off worker in the initial report had learned of the blacklist when he was told to apply for a contracting job with Disney, but was then told he’s out of the running because he was part of the so-called restructuring in January.

A second worker had a similar experience with an IT recruiter, who encouraged him to apply for a position but later said he’s disqualified from consideration because he was laid off in January.

That worker was being recruited by a manager at the contracting firm, who was in contact with his recruiter. “He said to go ahead and submit,” the recruiter initially told the worker in emails obtained by TheDCNF. “He’s got a request to HR for the approval and he doesn’t expect it to be denied.”

He submitted the application, but it was rejected when the recruiter ran it through Disney’s HR system, Zero Chaos, which contractors use to place jobs. “Just heard,” the recruiter said in a follow up email to the worker. “All cast members who were recently laid off are not eligible to come back to Disney as contractors for a period of 1 year.”

“Stupid rule,” the recruiter added, including the error message from Zero Chaos in the email:

*  Resource does not match eligibility requirements for return Cast Members. Must be non-Disney status for a duration of 1 year.

A third worker affected by the layoffs told TheDCNF he took an involuntary early retirement, in part because he was told he could come back as a contractor and was in process of making that happen. He had been with Disney for over 10 years and had great performance reviews. He had been in talks initiated by Disney with the contractor Disney hired, but that ended abruptly two weeks after the layoffs.

The recruiting firm reiterated the same policy the other two workers encountered: “There has to be a one year period between working for Disney in a technical position and being hired again for Disney (as a contractor) in another technical position,” the recruiter said in an email obtained by TheDCNF. “This is a new rule we just found out about today.”

“I’m not sure why they decided to do this,” the recruiter added. (RELATED: Disney ABC Cancels Plans To Layoff Dozens Of Tech Workers)

When the worker contacted Disney HR months ago, he was told there is no such policy and they would investigate. “They don’t want those specific layoff’s back because THAT would give the appearance those roles were still needed and the people still useful,” the worker told TheDCNF in an emailed comment.

The contractor Disney hired to replace the laid off tech workers relies on the H-1b visa program to hire temporary foreign workers. At the request of a bipartisan group of senators, the Obama administration is investigating suspected abuses of the program by outsourcing firms used by Southern California Edison to similarly replace hundreds of tech workers.

Following the more recent reports of the Disney layoffs, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who supports the H-1b program, has called for a similar federal investigation into Disney and its contractors. (RELATED: Rubio Breaks Silence On H-1b Visa Program)

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