These Disney Workers Moved Thousands of Miles. Now, a Suit

They relocated from California to Florida, only to be stranded after $1B office complex was nixed
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2024 2:50 PM CDT
Disney Workers Sue After Cross-Country Relocations
Cinderella Castle is seen at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World on July 14 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.   (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

In 2021, Disney announced that it would build a $1 billion office complex for theme park staff in the Lake Nona neighborhood of Orlando, and that 2,000 workers would either need to move from California to central Florida or quit their jobs. Two years later, the company scrapped plans for that massive project amid a battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—and now two employees who gave up their West Coast lives to relocate are suing, reports the BBC.

The proposed class-action complaint filed this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court—brought by current employees Maria De La Cruz, a VP of product design, and George Fong, a creative director—alleges that Disney misrepresented its intentions for the Lake Nona project, which led to about 250 people agreeing to move across the country based on Disney's plans. The rest of the affected workers either resigned or decided to wait to see how things played out. The lawsuit claims the employees who left, however, were "fraudulently induced" to relocate, per the Orlando Sentinel.

Fong ended up selling his childhood home in the Golden State to move to Florida; he returned to California this April and is now living in a much smaller residence. De La Cruz, meanwhile, is said to be in the process of moving back to California as well; it's not clear where she plans to live. She says she emailed Disney HR after the Lake Nona complex was nixed, writing, per CNN: "After all of this, will there be any security in our positions? My fear would be that we decide to stay in Florida, only to be laid off in the next year or so." She added, "I don't want to be punished for being put into a situation my company put me in." The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages. (More Disney stories.)

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