Labor & Employment

Earlier clean-costume dispute helped fired Disney workers get rehired in Lion King case

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More than a decade ago, a dispute over the condition of skintight underwear performers at Walt Disney World were required to don beneath their costumes led to new contract provisions intended to guarantee the cleanliness of the garments.

Those provisions helped three Walt Disney World performers, who were fired last year after refusing to wear spandex unitards as part of their costumes for a Festival of the Lion King show at the Orlando, Florida, theme park, regain their jobs, reports the Associated Press.

The performers contended the unitards had been contaminated by being placed near a rack of soiled garments that were rained upon. Disney said that wasn’t so and fired the trio for an alleged unauthorized work stoppage.

However, a collective bargaining agreement “states unconditionally that all wardrobe shall be clean and dry, without reference to the existence, or not, of actual danger,” wrote federal arbitrator Robert Moberly. His Monday ruling requires that the three workers be reinstated and given back pay.

A Disney spokeswoman said the company will comply.

Reprimands in employment files for the three workers will also be eliminated under Moberly’s ruling, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Related coverage:

Associated Press (2001): “New Contract Gives Disney Workers Clean Underwear”

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