Disney has canceled the layoffs it announced in late May for 35 technology employees, and some suspect the change of heart may have something to do with the Labor Department's recent crackdown on improper outsourcing.
According to The New York Times
, employees were originally told they would have to train immigrants brought in by an outsourcing company to replace them. Those plans were scuttled on June 11, however, and now many are asking why.
Patrick Thibodeau of technology website Computerworld reported that Disney had previously laid off a couple hundred employees in January. That scenario seemed poised to happen again with the latest round.
"I interviewed employees at Disney who had worked in the information technology department. They told me they had trained their replacements, and the replacements were from India. And they believed that these replacements were on temporary [H-1B] visas," Thibodeau explained to NPR
, describing the earlier round of layoffs Disney executed in January. "And subsequently, after they trained their replacements, they lost their jobs."
New Jersey-based global outsourcing company Cognizant was one of the firms that brought in replacement workers in the January layoffs, and appears to have been employed to do the same in the most recent round.
Last week, however, the Labor Department opened an investigation into two other outsourcing companies, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, over work they did for Southern California Edison.
It's suspected that outsourcing firms as of late have been violating rules regarding the use of H-1B visas, which are meant to allow temporary residency for immigrants with highly specialized skills when Americans with those skills cannot be found.
"In the applications large companies must file for the visas, they have to confirm that no American workers will be displaced," The Times explained Tuesday.
Bringing in immigrants with H-1B visas to be trained by their American replacements would therefore appear to violate those rules.
The Times asked Disney representatives for comment on the stoppage of the layoffs, however those queries went unanswered.
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