A Walt Disney World security officer has asked a judge to force Disney to turn over a “toxic employee” document that would prove she was blackballed for suing the company for discrimination.
The motion is part of a 2015 lawsuit filed by Xonia Book, who accuses Disney of discrimination after she was passed over for several promotions.
This is the second time Book has sued Disney for discrimination. She lost a 2011 case in which she claimed discrimination because she is Colombian. In her new lawsuit, Book said she applied for a promotion for which she was qualified but did not get an interview. Book has also sued Disney security director Melissa Merklinger, whom she accuses of sexual harassment for attempting to kiss her.
Book, who has worked for Disney since July 1995, has applied several times for a manager position but has never been promoted, said her attorney, Jerry Girley.
When Girley asked Merklinger during a deposition whether there was a toxic employee file, Merklinger said it was not a file, “it was a document.” She also said that HR created the document.
Girley said Merklinger’s admission is “proof that Disney has an internal blackballing system.”
“If a Disney employee files a complaint against the company, their name is put in a secret file, which is circulated to all managers,” Girley said. “Once an employee’s name is on the list, no matter how qualified they are, they will never get an interview or another promotion.”
The complaint claims Book was placed on the toxic employee list in retaliation for filing the 2011 discrimination suit.
“If you have just one rogue manager keeping a file, then the company can claim it was an isolated incident,” he said. “But if HR is keeping the file and distributing to other managers it is a much bigger problem.”
Disney had no comment on the case.