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Disney Reverses Layoff Decision Regarding About 35 IT Workers

Image: Disney Reverses Layoff Decision Regarding About 35 IT Workers
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By    |   Friday, 12 Jun 2015 01:37 PM

Disney ABC Television Group has announced that it is reversing a decision to lay off about 35 information technology workers, Computer World reported.

Two weeks ago, Disney ABC told the team of application developers that they would be losing their jobs, some at the end of July, and that their jobs were going to be outsourced to an IT contractor.

On Thursday, Disney ABC told the workers that plans had changed and they would retain their jobs. Some had already been training their replacements in "knowledge transfer" sessions.

The news comes after an announcement in October that saw the company lay off about 500 tech workers.

The employees were told they could stay until January and train their replacements or leave and forgo their severance packages.

The move prompted Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to call for an investigation into Disney by the Department of Homeland Security, the Daily Caller reported.

In April, Computer World reported that IT workers who were let go from Disney Parks and Resorts, a separate division, had to train their replacements, some of whom had come from India. The story generated 1,600 reader comments, most of which were critical of Disney.

The New York Times also published an article outlining Disney's policy on training foreign replacements, also generating thousands of comments and highlighting the broader issue of offshore outsourcing and the use of H-1B visas for foreign workers.

In 2012, Disney reportedly awarded an IT contract to India-based HCL and workers have said that more international employees were being hired to work in Orlando while other information technology jobs were being outsourced overseas.

Disney has refused to confirm or comment on the decision to reverse the layoffs, according to Computer World, but it was confirmed by another Disney source.

Disney ABC spokesman Kevin Brockman said that in the process of implementing a technology upgrade, "we look at a myriad of options to achieve our goals. We're clearly on an alternative path to achieve our goals that we think is better suited to our business."

The company also offered a general comment about the H-1B program saying, "The Walt Disney Company makes minimal use of the H-1B visa program to meet very specific needs, in keeping with the spirit and letter of the law. If the program as currently implemented is subject to abuse, we support appropriate action to effectively remedy it."

One tech worker who would have lost his job told the magazine that the reversal was the result of a backlash over outsourcing at Parks and Resorts.

"They [Disney officials] want this to go away—right now," said an IT employee, according to Computer World.

Another worker speculated that in announcing the reversal of the layoffs, Disney was simply waiting until the negative press died down.

"Once our department learned of what happened to our Parks and Resorts colleagues, we held no illusion that our recognized knowledge and skills, company loyalty or work ethic would trump a bottom line," a Disney ABC IT worker told Computer World prior to hearing that the company canceled the layoffs.

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Disney ABC Television Group has announced that it is reversing a decision to lay off about 35 information technology workers, Computer World reported.
Disney, IT, information technology, workers, lay off
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2015-37-12
Friday, 12 Jun 2015 01:37 PM
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