More than two years ago, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort — as well as every other Disney Resort — had to close their gates because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Parks were finally allowed to reopen, there were a number of drastic changes in place, including mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and strict attendance allowances. Then, when the COVID vaccine became available, Disney required its Cast Members to receive it and terminated those who wouldn’t get vaccinated.
Not long after Disney began firing those who refused to be vaccinated, lawsuits were filed by former Cast Members, claiming that Disney violated their rights by requiring them to wear masks and get vaccinated. At first, the lawsuits had only three names attached to them. However, we are now learning that four more former Cast Members have joined the fight.
According to a new report from The Orlando Sentinel:
Steven Gibbons, Cheron Hayes, Cathryn Koepke and Seth Schmidt on Dec. 23added their names to a lawsuit filed by fellow ex-Disney employees Barbara Andreas, Stephen Cribb and Adam Pajer in Osceola Circuit Court in July.
One plaintiff’s account in the suit accused Disney of continuing its vaccine mandate after suspending it following state legislation restricting employers’ abilities to enforce such regulations…
Disney continued to require unvaccinated employees to wear masks at work afterward under the law. The plaintiffs claimed that was an unreasonable accommodation that isolated them from other workers…
They are suing the Walt Disney Co. and several subsidiaries, including its theme parks division, along with the Reedy Creek Improvement District over the policies. The suit allegesDisney’s relationship with the district makes it a “local government entity” subject to public employer laws, and state law prohibits local governments from imposing vaccine mandates on employees.
The workers claim Disney violated state and federal civil rights laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Florida Constitution and Florida statutes on whistleblowing.
The plaintiffs are requesting a jury trial. Neither Disney nor the Reedy Creek Improvement District has commented on the lawsuit, but that is not uncommon with pending litigation.
Disney had to temporarily pause its vaccine mandate for Florida Cast Members in November 2021, after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law limiting vaccine mandates. While Disney could not force the Cast Members to be vaccinated, it did still require unvaccinated employees to continue to wear face masks at all times. The plaintiffs claim that the mask mandate was unreasonable and forced them to be isolated from their fellow Cast Members.
There are currently no vaccination requirements or mask mandates in place at either Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort. Other Disney theme parks still have health and safety regulations in place due to local government regulations.