Former Disney Streaming Services Employee Suing Disney for Alleged Hacking, Harassment, and Discrimination

A former Disney Streaming Services employee has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging harassment, discrimination, and hacking of personal devices.

Disney Streaming Services Via Variety

Disney Streaming Services Via Variety

What’s happening:

  • Variety is reporting that a former Disney employee is suing the company alleging discrimination and harassment.
  • Product designer, Steven van Soeren was fired from Disney this past May. He’d worked for BAMTech and Disney Streaming Services since August 2016.
  • van Soeren has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New York City. van Soeren claims that he was fired without cause, and was not provided severance pay. He is seeking monetary damages and damages due to emotional distress, as well as other punitive damages.
  • During his time a Disney Streaming Service he alleges that he experienced “a work environment displaying a pattern and practice of discrimination and evidence of discriminatory animus.”
  • Additionally, Van Soeren believes Disney employees hacked his home computer and phone, learning personal information about his private life.
  • The lawsuit claims that around June 2018 “numerous” coworkers “discussed and referenced matters that Plaintiff had only discussed at home with his spouse, and/or viewed through his Google Chrome internet browser.”
  • van Soeren says that he had not told his coworkers he was expecting a child and in an unrelated conversation his boss, Brian McConnell, “blurted out to Plaintiff, ‘maybe you shouldn’t have a kid.'”
  • As for his hacking of his personal device, he claims that one day prior to going to lunch he was researching reported carcinogens in Subway’s food, a coworker approached him and commented, “if you’re worried about carcinogens then you shouldn’t eat at Subway.”
  • Beyond the suspected hacking, the suit claims that McConnell and other employees “continued to harass, taunt and intimidate Plaintiff throughout his spouse’s pregnancy and the birth of his child.”
  • He alleges during his time at Disney he was subjected to verbal attacks from McConnell who reportedly made comments like: “f— you, Steve,” referred to him as the “tallest midget,” and commented, “everything he said was stupid.”
  • van Soeren says he filed complaints with the HR department, but no actions were taken against his alleged harassers. He also claims that McConnell threatened to fire him after he went to HR.
  • Disney representatives have declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Statement from van Soeren’s lawsuit:

  • “As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct as alleged herein above, Plaintiff has suffered severe emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress and anxiety, and economic harm, all in amount exceeding the jurisdictional minimum of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, according to proof at trial.”