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Disney IT workers, in lawsuit, claim discrimination against Americans

Patrick Thibodeau | Dec. 13, 2016
Alleges that Disney terminated the employment of the plaintiffs based solely on their national origin and race

In this interview, Iger was asked about the outsourcing decision. He defended it and argued that it helped Disney upgrade its technology and created more jobs than were lost. But he also expressed regret about way the outsourcing was handled.

Iger told the Reporter: "The mistake that was made is that we asked people who were leaving to help train their successors. That's common in the business, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's right. And looking back, I'm sorry that we did that because there's something insulting about that. That got a huge amount of attention and rubbed people the wrong way, and I completely understand why it would. It just does not pass a smell test, even if it is common practice."

Blackwell said that Iger never reached out to any of the affected employees to express his regrets.

"I think he is hypocritical by making a public admission that what he did was not okay. without ever reaching out to any of the people that were really the victims," said Blackwell. "He has a created a lot of problems and lot of heartache."

Iger's view about offshore outsourcing may ultimately affect more people than just those at Disney.

Iger was recently appointed by President-elect Donald Trump, along with 15 other business executives, to help the president "bring back jobs and make America great again," according to the Trump transition team announcement. Iger is also co-chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group that advocates for increasing H-1B numbers and argues it increases job growth.

The membership of the "President's Strategic and Policy Forum" appears tilted toward firms that favor offshore outsourcing of IT. This includes the forum's chair, Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone, a private equity firm.

In April, Blackstone acquired a majority stake in Mphasis, an India-based IT services firm, from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for about $1.1 billion. "The all-cash deal reinforces Blackstone's bullish outlook on the outsourcing business, where western clients send IT jobs to countries such as India to cut costs," wrote Reuters in a news report about the deal.

 

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