A former Disney archivist claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on alleged sexual harassment
A former archivist for the Walt Disney Company is now suing the company, claiming that he was fired for retaliation after reporting a sexual harassment claim to human resources.
In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in central California last week, Robert Klein says that Disney canned him after he relayed a claim of sexual harassment, after a male subordinate told Klein that a female subordinate had made unwanted advances toward him. Klein reached out to human resources about the situation in August 2011, the lawsuit says, and was axed the following month.
Klein, who began working for Disney in April, 2007, says that he was told that he was being fired because he improperly filled out the male subordinate's paperwork, and had "lied" about knowing that the two subordinates had a previous relationship.
In the suit, Klein counters that someone else had filled out the hiring paperwork of the subordinate in question, and that he had no knowledge of the subordinates' prior relationship.
Even if he did know, Klein counters in the suit, it should have no bearing on the situation, since "many Disney employees are either married, have ongoing relationships and had prior relationships before hiring."
A Disney spokesperson denied the claims when contacted by TheWrap on Wednesday.
"This lawsuit is absolutely without merit," the spokesperson said.
In addition to the firing, Klein says, Disney blackballed him, placing him on a "no re-hire" list, destroying "his otherwise impeccable career and reputation," and making him persona non grata in the tight-knit archiving community.
Alleging unlawful retaliation and violation of the California Fair Housing and Employment Act, Klein is seeking a full restitution of all wages and benefits he's lost, plus compensatory damages, punitive damages, restoration of economic and non-economic losses, and attorneys' fees.
Klein is being being represented by Jason A. Archinaco of Archinaco/Bracken LLC.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.