Court Battles

Former Disney employees sue company over vaccine, mask requirements, claiming religious discrimination

AP Photo/Francois Mori
This Sept. 20, 2017, file photo shows a sign at the Disney store on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France.

Three former Disney employees have sued the company and a subsidiary after they say they were fired for refusing to wear a face covering at work and not getting vaccinated for COVID-19 on religious grounds. 

The employees, Barbara Andreas, Stephen Cribb and Adam Pajer, filed the lawsuit on June 30, arguing that Disney “targeted” staff members who declined to get the vaccine. The lawsuit states that getting the vaccine would go against the plaintiffs’ “deeply held convictions.” 

Disney announced its policy requiring employees to get vaccinated in July 2021, saying they would need to show proof of being fully vaccinated by the end of that September. But the lawsuit states this only applied to nonunion employees, and multiple unions representing cast members reached agreements to extend the deadline. 

Disney lifted its mandate after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law in November limiting companies’ ability to require vaccination.

The lawsuit claimed that Disney put in place “augmented protocols” for unvaccinated employees after lifting the vaccine mandate that “consisted of harsh isolation and restrictions, causing serious breathing problems for Plaintiffs and making it nearly impossible to find a compliant manner and location in which to eat or drink while on shift.”

Andreas was fired in March of this year, Cribb was fired in April and Pajer was fired in June, according to the lawsuit. 

They are requesting Disney be required to reinstate their employment, stop enforcement of the augmented protocols and pay each of them for lost wages, any lost benefits, attorney fees and any additional relief that a court considers justified.

The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiary, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, did not immediately return requests from The Hill for comment.

Tags COVID-19 pandemic covid-19 restrictions disney Disney mask mandate Ron DeSantis vaccine mandate Vaccine mandates

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