Walt Disney World is being sued by a former employee who says he was terminated for having a "non-Disney look," according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
In the suit, filed in Hillsborough County, Former USF student Sukhbir Channa says he was hired as a seasonal college musician in October 2005, requiring his appearance in parades and atmospheric performances.
Channa, 24, wears a turban, beard, and keeps his hair long for his Sikh religion. In the parade peformances, he wore a toy soldier hat that covered his head. In the atmospheric performances, he was initially allowed to wear a red turban in place of the red beret other musicians wore.
According to the suit, Channa was removed from the position because he lacked the “Disney look”. Channa says he complained to human resources, who told him he was never hired for the atmospheric position. But Channa says he received training for the position, but no corrective action was ever directed at him regarding his appearance.
He claims he was terminated in early 2006 for not having the "Disney look."
When he applied to be re-hired later that same year, he says he was denied employment for the same reason, while all of his former co-workers were rehired.
The lawsuit also claims Channa was singled out to do menial tasks by his supervisor.
Channa's attorney says the Florida Civil Rights Act is being violated and is requesting damages for his client totalling at least $1 million.
A Disney spokesperson said the company is reviewing the lawsuit. [Link]
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