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Disney Facing Lawsuit Over Cancelled Florida Campus Move

Disney is facing a new lawsuit that is based off its canceled plans to move around 2,000 employees from California to a new campus in Lake Nona, Florida. This was a plan that was initially implemented under former Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s leadership and then reversed after Bob Iger returned to the role.

The plans for the move were initially announced in 2021 by then-CEO Bob Chapek and Disney Parks Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro. At the time, the plan was to relocate most of the segment under D’Amaro’s leadership to Lake Nona to a new $1 billion campus. There were tax credits that were enticing Disney to make this move. Disney believed that the move would ave the company money. Disney employees, however, were not as enthusiastic. They were being asked to leave their lives in California to move to Florida.

As the conditions in Florida changed and controversy grew between the state, under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership, and the house of mouse, the move was cancelled. This came one month after Disney sued the Florid Governor over what it alleged was an infringement of its 1st Amendment rights. Now, some Disney employees are suing Disney over this cancellation. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It says that numerous employees listened to the company, sold their homes in Southern California, and moved to Central Florida.

The plaintiffs are Maria De La Cruz and George Fung. Both are current Disney employees. They allege that they were fraudulently induced to relocate to Florida by being led to believe they would lose their jobs if they didn’t move. De La Cruz and Fong both agreed to relocation in 2021. The lawsuit says that Disney told impacted employees that they had 90 days to “consider and make the decision that’s best for them.”

Both De La Cruz and Fung sold their homes in Southern California and moved. A year later, Disney canceled the project. The proposed class-action lawsuit seeks to represent “all current and former California Disney employees who relocated to Florida as a result of Disney’s announcement of the Lake Nona Project.” It seeks punitive damages that haven’t been specified.

At the time of the cancellation, Disney said that “Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with the construction of the campus.” At the time, Disney acknowledged that some employees had already made the move to Florida. It said it would work with individual employees and help make plans to move them back to California.

The lawsuit alleges that the efforts and compensation to the affected employees were inadequate. The lawsuit also said that numerous Disney employees refused to make the move and some remained employed by the company. It also says that the financial picture was complicated when Disney ended the project and housing prices fell in the Orlando area. At the same time, home prices in the Los Angeles increased and higher interest rates made the financial picture more complicated.

In the case of Fong, he has purchased a new home in South Pasadena but it has “considerably less square footage than his previous Los Angeles Home,” the lawsuit says. It also says that De La Cruz is in process of moving back to California.

What do you think of this new lawsuit against Disney? Do you think it will go anywhere? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!