A former musical performer for Disneyland’s Festival of Holidays is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., alleging she was wrongfully fired in 2019 because she got pregnant.
Shadea Curry Bahar’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, sex and disability discrimination, failure to investigate discrimination claims and aiding and abetting discriminatory employment. Bahar seeks unspecified damages in the suit filed Wednesday.
A Disney representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Disneyland’s Festival of Holidays ran from November 2019 to January 2020. Bahar was required to sign a contract with Disney itself in addition to her performer’s contract with a musical group called The Sound, the suit states.
Although both the Disney contract and The Sound contract disclaimed that Bahar was a Disney employee, both contracts had multiple terms establishing Disney’s control over her employment, including the ability of Disney to select and approve any wardrobes and costumes, according to the suit.
The Sound contract also stated that each mandatory paid rehearsal would be attended by Disney executives and if the performer could not attend those rehearsals, he or she would be fired, the suit states.
The Disney contract gave the company the right to use any likeness or sound of Bahar in the performances and the plaintiff was prohibited from posting photographs, social media posts or recordings of those performances, according to the suit.
Bahar was pregnant when she was hired in 2019, but still started attending rehearsals and was planning to work every performance during Disneyland’s holiday events, the suit states. However, when a manager for The Sound found out about the pregnancy in October 2019, the plaintiff was fired, the suit states.
When Bahar objected and asked for an explanation, the representative allegedly justified the firing by saying it was a “safety issue.”
Bahar said she had signed waivers releasing The Sound and Disney from liability, but The Sound representative told Bahar “she could not have a pregnant woman getting injured during the course of the performances or rehearsals and that Disney would make the same determination,” according to the suit.
Bahar has suffered shock, embarrassment, physical distress and humiliation, according to the suit.