Former Disneyland workers sue for alleged age discrimination

Posted Thursday, March 27, 2003 3:45 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Three former Disneyland managers who allegedly failed to meet the company's model because they were too old have sued the entertainment giant because they were forced to resign or fired from their jobs. An attorney for the former employees said Wednesday during opening statements of the civil trial that Disneyland had a "hit list" of employees over 40 who eventually left the company.

Read more from AP via The Gainesville Sun.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 3:46 AM
Wow, that seems like a hard case to prove. I think the more logical reason is that they were trying to cut back on management salaries, and there's nothing illegal about that.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 4:32 AM
Yes, but if your only intention is to cut back on salaries, you do not make false accusations to discredit your employee. You simply cite bugetary reasons and move on. The plantiffs' claim is that Disney inaccurately repremanded them, basically falsifying evidence to pressure them to resign or creating the 'paper trail' to fire them.

The question *I* have is how these men jumped to the 'age discrimination' accusation. I surely hope that they have some evidence that this is a culture fostered by Disney. Otherwise, all they will be doing is wasting the taxpayers time and money.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 4:48 AM
Truly, I realy don't think there is much of a case to prove here. Age discrimination is such an old standby for people cut form major companies like Disney. Most likely, the people just didn't meet the standard of employment there, giving Disney a perfect reason to cut them. The fact that they may be a little over the hill has nothing to do with it, other than that they may not have been capable of other things that younger people could accomplish. That can hardly be called age discrimination, just a smart and conservative company in a little bit of rough water.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 5:06 AM
People in their forties are "a little over the hill"? Well, that doesn't leave me with much hope. How about you Jeff?

As for this case, Disney is going to win so long as they can prove they cut people who were under forty which it appears that they have.

If you look at the theme park industry as a whole, they were one of the first groups to actually go after Senior Citizens/non-traditional age groups as a source for employees.

Thursday, March 27, 2003 6:07 AM
Hey, back off man, I'm only going to be 30 this summer. ;)

Agreed about Disney and older employees. That's especially true in Orlando. And you know what? They tend to hire the nice "grandfolks" types, the kind that you loved to visit after church on a Sunday when you were little. They do not have the "I'm old, grumpy and the world owes me" types.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 6:31 AM
Yeah...but once you hit 30, Jeff, it's all downhill and 40 comes pretty dang quickly! Just ask Dawnmarie ;)

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 8:58 AM
Well, I am over 30 and it still feels like I am chugging up the hill. What I was referring to is that when you are 20, 40 seems old but now that I am over 30, 40 does NOT seem old. I certainly don't think I am going to be "over-the-hill" in 6 or 7 years!*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 3/27/2003 1:59:36 PM ***
Thursday, March 27, 2003 9:42 AM
I can say that Disney prizes their older CMs. Many of their best CMs are older. They don't have the spirit that some kids do and they remember back to the days of Walt and Roy. I think this will be VERY hard to prove, but it can be done.

But consider this, if these 3 are fired because they can't do a certain job and refuse to go somewhere else in the company, then that might be the story we are hearing.

The Mole

Thursday, March 27, 2003 11:11 AM

Yes, but if your only intention is to cut back on salaries, you do not make false accusations to discredit your employee.

Why not.. Worked for the Clinton White House when they canned all teh travel office employee's. Some had worked there 20+ years with nothign but commendations and fired so they could bring in thier friends, but I'm going off track.

Honestly.. If it can be proven that the "hit list" happened. The House of Mouse deserves the lawsuit and bad press.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003 11:58 AM
It all depends on the particulars, and I don't know the particulars. Age discrimination does exist in some companies. It's not just an attitude in some companies. It's a way to save on pension costs.

That said, from the article, it doesn't sound like there is a real good case here. For one thing, the small number of plaintiffs in a company the size of Disney doesn't sound like a widespread practice of discrimination. Even if a hit list existed, it doesn't mean anything unless it was based on age.

Thursday, March 27, 2003 1:51 PM
I think Disney will probably win this. Generally- there are two ways to prove age discrimination- 1) a supervisor continually makes derogatory comments about someones age (doesn't seem to be the case here) or 2) a disproprotionate number of persons over 40 were terminated when a layoff was held (i.e.- the company wanted to get rid of older high paid persons to get younger cheaper labor).

If Disney can prove that may of the persons were under 40 they are in good shape. Additionally, the fact that two of the three plaintiffs were hired when they were over 40 and then terminated just a few years later does not help the plaitiffs' case. Its unlikely that Disney's going to hire someone at 41 and then turn around and fire them three years later because they become too old three years later. If Disney can also show that the same person fired them that hired them - I don't see how they loose. Frankly, the article sounds like a shakedown article- get an article printed about your case in the hopes Disney gets afraid of negative publicity and offers some cash.


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