Disney Employees Sue Company Over Failed Job Relocation Plans

AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images via CNN Photo Source: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images via CNN

Two Walt Disney Company employees have initiated legal action against the company, alleging significant financial and emotional harm due to the abrupt cancellation of a planned job relocation from California to Florida. The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed by Maria De La Cruz and George Fong, was submitted to the Los Angeles Superior Court and awaits processing.

The lawsuit dates back to 2021, when then-CEO Bob Chapek announced Disney's plans to relocate approximately 2,000 employees from California to a new $1 billion office complex in Lake Nona, Florida. Following the proposal, the lawsuit alleges Disney “made it clear that employees who declined relocation would lose their jobs.”

As a result, De La Cruz, Vice President of Product Design, and Fong, a Creative Director, both sold their homes in Southern California and purchased new properties in Florida in response to this directive. However, in May 2023, after Bob Iger returned as CEO, Disney scrapped the Lake Nona project. The decision occurred amidst Disney’s legal conflicts with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, particularly surrounding controversial state legislation on education and LGBTQ+ issues.

The plaintiffs allege that Disney misled staff about the Lake Nona project, causing them and over 200 other employees financial loss and emotional distress. The lawsuit claims that Disney knowingly deceived employees about the relocation’s permanence, failing to disclose the potential cancellation. As a result, the plaintiffs contend they were forced to sell their California homes, relocate, and subsequently return to California all because of the Lake Nona project.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs assert that they encountered substantial difficulties upon returning to California, primarily attributable to the dynamics of the housing market. They argue that the substantial increase in mortgage rates rendered it exceedingly difficult for them and others in their circumstances to secure equivalent housing accommodations, emphasizing that it was “impossible for plaintiffs and other similarly situated individuals to obtain housing comparable to the homes they had sold in connection with the transfer of their roles to (Florida)."

As reported by CNN, the lawsuit lists several legal claims, including solicitation of employees by misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and concealment. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the affected employees.

Nina Richards
Nina Richards
Nina earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Brandman University, laying the foundation for her interest in and understanding of human behavior. She works full-time at Law Commentary and is dedicated to merging her passion for pop culture with legal insights. Combining her analytical skills and interest in staying updated on trends, she strives to deliver pop culture legal news, bridging the gap between law and contemporary society.
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