Working for Walt Disney World in Florida is often seen as a dream for many who love the Orlando theme park. However, the veil sometimes deteriorates when the dream is fulfilled. Reality is often a different experience than anticipated, and a former cast member is now keenly aware of this fact.
Lawsuit Filed Against Disney for Discrimination
According to Click Orlando, a lawsuit was filed on December 15. In it, a fired employee of Disney World is now suing The Walt Disney Company for alleged discrimination after the theme park failed to accommodate a simple request. All she wanted was a stool to sit on.
The plaintiff, Samantha Barash, landed a role with the Disney College Program. This selective paid internship lets participants live and work at Disney resorts or parks, gaining valuable work experience, networking opportunities, and exposure to the entertainment industry.
The program combines on-the-job training with educational coursework and provides a unique insight into Disney’s operations.
Disney Allegedly Denies ADA Accommodation
Before coming to Orlando, the lawsuit stresses Barash made it clear to the company that she had a disability and would need accommodations in her work environment. Disney was reportedly aware of this and has a policy of complying with ADA employee requests.
However, Barash now says the company discriminated against her by terminating her employment with them after asking for a stool to sit on during work hours. Furthermore, the lawsuit states Disney violated the Florida Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She is seeking damages of over $50,000 and is asking Disney to reinstate her in her role.
Click Orlando clarifies that the plaintiff was given a stool in her first role as a greeter when starting her employment. However, she was eventually moved to a new role in parking. She alleges that this location denied her using a chair while working.
Disney Fires Employee With Disability
This alleged discrimination started in January of 2023, and Disney fired Barash just a month later in February.
Furthermore, Barash says she wasn’t informed of her termination until she received a notice of eviction from her Flamingo Crossing residence provided by Disney for the program.
“Plaintiff has suffered great emotional stress, anxiety, loss of sleep and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of Defenadant’s actions,” the lawsuit reads.
Disney has not commented on the lawsuit. This is also not the first time the company has dealt with workplace discrimination accusations.
However, it is peculiar that one location accommodated the stool and another did not. It will be interesting to see why the stool was an issue in the parking role.
Disney Dining will follow up with any new information relevant to this case. The Walt Disney Company is no stranger to lawsuits, and this is most likely just another drop in the bucket for the entertainment giant to settle.