Three ex-employees at Walt Disney World are suing Disney after they were fired for not wearing face masks or getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Barbara Andreas, Stephen Cribb and Adam Pajer said in the lawsuit that Disney discriminated against them by not accommodating their religious exemptions from the company’s COVID-19 mandates requiring employees be vaccinated and wear facial coverings.
Andres and Cribb were fired in March, while Pajer was let go in June, according to the lawsuit. The trio had worked for the company between seven and 20 years.
The plaintiffs said Disney “announced to its entire U.S. cast a vaccinate or terminate COVID-19 vaccination policy” on July 30, 2021. Employees were given a Sept. 30, 2021 deadline to prove their full vaccination status, as a “condition of continued employment.”
Disney’s vaccine mandate was suspended in November after Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers limited the power for employers to require workers to be vaccinated. The company later dropped masking requirements for vaccinated employees.
The lawsuit claims that Disney’s “augmented protocols” that were forced on nonvaccinated employees consisted of “harsh isolation and restrictions” that caused “serious breathing” and made it “nearly impossible to find a compliant manner and location in which to eat or drink while on shift.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost wages, employee benefits and attorney’s fees and are requesting a jury trial. The lawsuit was filed on June 29.