Disneyland Resort workers have filed a lawsuit claiming the Walt Disney Co. is violating state law by encoding workers’ identification cards with their Social Security numbers. The workers say they’re worried that the encoded information on their ID cards could be accessed using barcode scanners such as the kind commonly available as smartphone apps.
The employees allege the practice violates Section 1798.85 of the California Civil Code, which prohibits companies from printing an individual’s Social Security number on any card required for that individual to access products or services.
According to the lawsuit, Disney workers currently use their cards daily, for example, to clock in and out of break time, obtain keys for storage closets, place food orders and to gain entry to restricted areas. They also say Disney “negligently” maintains former employees’ identification cards, for example, by leaving them “stacked on managerial desks where they can be easily stolen or misappropriated.”
The suit says Disney has known about the ID card problem for three years. However, according to the lawsuit, the company has “failed to establish any system or taken any steps to ensure the privacy” of employees’ confidential data.
This could become a large class-action lawsuit, representing as many as 20,000 Disneyland Resort employees—and potentially thousands of other Disney employees in California, including those that work for Disney Studios and the ABC television network, which Disney owns.
Factoring in potential compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs, the lawsuit could cost the company more than $5 million.
A Disney representative said the company has taken steps to address the problem and that the identification cards were developed years before the advent of mobile phone applications that are able to scan barcodes.