More than 100 Workers Sue Disney over low-wages that force them to Moonlight in California

Approximately one hundred Disney hotel maintenance employees in southern California are suing the entertainment behemoth for what they claim is underpayment of wages compared to fast food employees in the state and the imposition of additional jobs on top of their already heavy overtime schedules.

According to lead plaintiff Charlie Torres, “a ton of us have or had second jobs just to survive. I was delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut five nights a week and working 48 hours or more in the mornings at Disney.”

Workers responsible for maintaining the four-star hotels to the standards of their affluent clients are reportedly struggling to make ends meet due to rising prices and a housing problem in the region, according to Ron Zambrano, Torres’ attorney.

Zambrano, a partner at West Coast Trial Lawyers in Los Angeles, explained that franchise owners of larger businesses are required to pay at least $20 per hour to the employees working for them. “So, their wages are lower than those of Burger King, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s.”

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According to Torres, he was a member of the union that oversaw the food bank at Disney’s food and beverage business before landing the higher-paying maintenance job.

A central claim in the case is that the employees should have been paid double the minimum wage in California, which is $15.50 per hour, because Disney reportedly demanded that they bring their own tools.

According to him, some of them earned as low as $17.50 per hour. Additionally, employees claim that Disney failed to pay them for overtime and prevented them from taking their legally mandated lunch breaks or being compensated for working through meals.

At the same time, Disney is charging, location-dependent, hundreds of dollars a night. An internet search revealed that some rooms started at over $500. Some of them cost over $800.

According to Zambrano, new hires were expected to shell out hundreds of dollars for a set of necessary hand tools, which they would then be requested to purchase on their own cost many times a year.

Half a month’s worth of groceries—that’s a lot of money, Zambrano added. “Given the amount of money these hotels bring in, it’s incredible that you asked these guys.”

Also included in the class-action lawsuit that was filed on Friday is an allegation that Disney did not pay its fired or quit employees their final paychecks on schedule.

Some theme park employees have allegedly resorted to living in their cars to make ends meet, and the lawsuit is attempting to collect unpaid salaries, interest, and legal expenses from Disney. The company has also been criticized for its treatment of these employees.

It was reported in 2016 by the Orange County Register that one of them passed away while driving. The newspaper reported that it took 20 days from the time of her disappearance to locate Yeweinishet Mesfin due to the fact that her address was not included.

They spoke while she worked the night shift as a custodian, he explained. She was killed while driving. She lived in her car and no one knew she was destitute. I have heard of other employees who have done it, so I know it happens.