According to a report from Florida Politics, a Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company because the company failed to accommodate her disabilities as required under federal law.
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For many, working at any of the Disney Parks, such as the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resorts, is a lifelong dream. Cast Members tend to have long tenure and ultimately make the career decision to work at what is dubbed “the happiest place on earth.”
In this specific case, however, the experience for Morgan Schoepfer was anything but magical. In fact, it sounds downright deplorable.
Earlier this week, Schoepfer filed a lawsuit accusing Disney of failing to accommodate her disabilities and retaliating against her when she complained last year. Her lawsuit argued that her hours were cut, then she was fired on November 30.
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According to Schoepfer’s lawsuit filed last week in federal court, she grew up a Disney superfan in Maryland. She was thrilled when she landed what she thought was the perfect job: Working in a giant Disney retail store in the Disney Springs shopping complex near the theme parks. She would go on to state in the filing that “Working at Disney was a dream for Plaintiff until she found herself in the most hostile work environment she had ever experienced.”
Ms. Schoepfer has been diagnosed with many health issues, including cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease, Gastroparesis, and Colonic Dysmotility, which her suit described as causing paralyzes of the large intestine, causing her to use the bathroom frequently.
The problems with Schoepfer’s job at the World of Disney store arose when she requested special accommodations to sit in a chair and rest every 30 minutes, which she said was possible if she worked the cash register. Her lawsuit said her accommodation requests also included access to the bathrooms, not lifting anything above 10 pounds because cerebral palsy affects her balance, and not handling open food or cleaning the bathroom.
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The lawsuit claimed that Disney failed to provide her accommodations as required under federal law, and Disney managers took her needs and then her complaints lightly. In fact, the situation got so bad that in September 2022, Schoepfer said she got dizzy from standing too long, collapsed, and then had a seizure that landed her in the hospital. Disney would respond by stating, “We are a big corporation, so we do make mistakes. We want to do better but will not get there overnight.”
Schoepfer also said in the lawsuit she soiled herself several times because Disney didn’t always provide her bathroom accommodations since the facility was sometimes entire.
Despite the issues, Schoepfer claimed that Disney pressured her to quit and withheld her accommodations. “Inclusiveness is a public relations thing … it’s not what you think,” a Guest experience manager told her, according to her lawsuit.
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Her attorney, Brett Kaplan, said, “We intend to prove that Disney subjected Ms. Schoepfer to an abusive environment because of her disabilities. We commend Ms. Schoepfer — a disability advocate in her own right — for coming forward and sharing her experience. We look forward to presenting our client’s claims in court and, ultimately, holding the Defendant accountable.”
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