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Disney Workers File Lawsuit Over Canceled Florida Campus Project

Walt Disney World Resort

Disney workers are suing the company for damages after being told to relocate for a project that was ultimately canceled. 

In a proposed class action lawsuit, employees accuse Disney of misrepresenting its intentions.

The company announced in 2021 that it would open a new $1 billion campus for theme park staff in Florida

The company told roughly 2,000 California employees to either move to Florida or resign.

However, less than two years later, Disney reversed its decision.

The complaint alleges staff relied on Disney's promises.

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The project was cancelled after the return of CEO Bob Iger in 2023

This led them to incur significant moving expenses as they sold their homes and purchased new ones in Florida. 

Lawyer Jason Lohr, representing the workers, said: "These folks are really frustrated by their circumstances."

Disney has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Two current employees, Maria de la Cruz, a vice president of product design, and George Fong, a creative director of product design, brought the lawsuit. 

The company's change of heart regarding the Lake Nona campus came in 2023.

This was after Bob Iger returned as CEO and initiated a major cost-cutting drive. 

This decision followed a highly publicized conflict between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the company's relationship with the state.

The project’s abrupt cancellation occurred amidst a surge in home prices and mortgage rates in the US.

According to the lawsuit, Disney's initial plans had driven up home prices in the Lake Nona area, which then dropped when the project was scrapped.

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Some Disney employees resigned rather than move, while others waited after being informed of project delays. 

However, around 250 employees followed through with the transfer according to the original timeline. 

Mr. Fong, sold his childhood home to move to Florida and is now living in a smaller house upon returning to California this year. 

The lawsuit claims Disney "did not compensate him fairly for the damages he had suffered and would suffer." 

However, Mr. Fong agreed to the transfer, recognizing that his job security depended on it.

According to Mr. Lohr, numerous other employees have expressed interest in joining the lawsuit since it was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court this week.

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