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Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF) is proud to announce another legal victory in its case Petroff vs Vallow, Disney Television Studios Inc. and The Walt Disney Company, which was recently settled.

Disney does not ordinarily negotiate or settle lawsuits with employees, but it just did.

Disney broke with its history and standard practices because continuing to fight the lawsuit would have meant deposition of senior Disney employees, publication of sensitive and revealing internal documents, and a very embarrassing public trial.

Disney subsidiary 20th Television Animation began enforcing a Covid vaccine mandate in April of 2022, long after it knew that Covid injections do not stop transmission or infection.

Pamela Petroff was a company receptionist and office manager who worked for the animated shows American Dad and Family Guy. She enjoyed her job and was well liked until she, a Christian who suffers from an immune condition, requested accommodations under Disney’s mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy for medical and religious reasons. Thereafter, she was subjected to harassment, intimidation, and discrimination by Disney supervisors and HR staff. But Petroff remained resolute in her beliefs and refused to be bullied, coerced, or intimidated despite her own supervisor, Kara Vallow, posting shocking and condemnable comments about Christians, conservatives, and unvaccinated people on social media.

Disney repeatedly threatened to terminate Petroff and intended to terminate her in September of 2022 when Health Freedom Defense Fund stepped in to support her in a lawsuit against Disney. Disney then backed off sacking her, but it began stalling. It kept Petroff on paid leave for months. Then it gave her a job on a different production that was affected by the screenwriters’ strike, resulting in Petroff being laid off for several months. Meanwhile, Disney delayed the litigation and failed to produce key internal documents requested by Petroff’s attorneys.

Finally, after months of waiting, Disney attorney Steve Marenburg handed over the documents – with many redactions (which were ultimately removed) – and with a highly irregular notation, “Attorneys Eyes Only” – a highly confidential designation normally reserved for trade secrets and the like which was a clear indication that Disney had much to hide. This notation meant that HFDF’s attorneys Scott Street and John Howard of JW Howard Attorneys could not share the documents with Petroff or HFDF.

Petroff’s personnel documents showed that Disney executives knew her request was sincere and knew that the company could accommodate her. They simply refused to do so because they worried about upsetting other people at Disney who they perceived as more powerful than Petroff. Moreover, Disney executives lied to Petroff when they told her that accommodating her requests would amount to an undue burden.

Disney singled out Petroff because it was worried about bothering a celebrity.

Disney pretended it was acting in good faith with Petroff while Disney supervisors and HR officials bullied her, likely betting she would be unable to secure legal representation and in the hopes that she would become so demoralized, she would just give up and go away.

Disney, through its attempts to placate a paranoid executive, tormented this young woman causing her tremendous emotional distress which would surely have resulted in large damages for Petroff, as well as a great deal of embarrassment for Disney – which purports to possess “visionary thinking” and a “commitment to excellence” – had the case proceeded to trial.

Disney’s hollow claims of visionary thinking and excellence are belied by the sordid details of Petroff’s Disney experience.

But Pamela Petroff leaves Disney with the pride derived from standing for what’s right and sending a message to Disney and to all corporations by extension, that they cannot disregard their employees’ rights.

While HFDF would have preferred the case to go to trial in order to fully expose Disney’s conduct to the light of day, Health Freedom Defense Fund is honored and proud to support Petroff, a very brave young woman, in pursuit of basic American ideals of freedom and justice.

HFDF president Leslie Manookian said, “I hope other American employees of powerful corporations feel inspired and empowered by this victory as no American should be subjected to the kind of treatment which Petroff received for merely standing by their convictions.”

This post has been edited from its original version to clarify that Petroff’s un-redacted personnel records were ultimately provided.