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Ex-Disneyland Worker Says He Was Fired For Whistle Blowing

August 05, 2000|From Times Staff

A former Disneyland maintenance supervisor contends that park officials fired him last year on a pretext when he raised concerns that budget-cutting was jeopardizing the safety of riders.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Orange County Superior Court, Buena Park resident Robert Klostreich, 56, also accuses the Anaheim park of bias against him because of his age and his inability to work graveyard shifts because of a 1994 knee injury.

Park spokeswoman Chela Castano-Lenahan said Disneyland officials hadn't seen the suit and couldn't comment on it. However, the lawsuit says Disneyland contended Klostreich was terminated because he took leaves of absence exceeding the time allowed by Disneyland policy.

In an interview Friday, Klostreich said he is receiving long-term disability payments.

Klostreich was hired at the park in 1976 and became supervisor in 1990. He was one of several maintenance workers terminated in August 1999.

In the lawsuit, he claims his supervisors had ordered him not to reveal to anyone "the fact that defendants were not properly maintaining . . . theme park rides," or his "ongoing concern about the safety of guests on the rides of defendants, due to cost-cutting."

He said he wrote a memo in October 1997 to his supervisors and to park administrators listing problems with roller coaster maintenance. Instead of being praised for revealing the flawed system, Klostreich contends that he was accused of insubordination by a supervisor.

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