ORLANDO, Fla. — Around 100 SeaWorld employees were told Monday they're out of a job.
Some of the laid-off workers said they're really upset because their jobs are now going to people in other counties.
A few of the laid-off employees said they were recently sent to Central America to train people, but said they had no idea they were training those workers to replace them in their own jobs.
Empty parking spots in an otherwise full lot paint a picture of what happened behind closed doors at SeaWorld's corporate call center in Orlando.
"I got a call from human resources and they said that, effectively immediately, I no longer had a position there," one former employee said.
The employees said that, without warning, about 100 people were laid off.
"Everything from monthly payment plans, from annual passes to selling new annual passes, park tickets, setting up dining reservations, animal encounters, tours," the former employee said, describing the workers' jobs.
SeaWorld released a statement, saying "it undertook a careful review of its operations and made a business decision to restructure its call center operations.” The statement also reads, “This move will allow us to better and more efficiently scale our call center to meet customer demand, especially during peak months. Due to this change, approximately 100 employee positions at the Orlando call center have been eliminated and operations have been shifted to a third-party vendor, effective immediately.”
One former worker, who is a graduate student, said the company agreed to pay workers for the next 60 days but she's not sure how she'll be able to afford school now.
"People didn't really have a chance to prepare and, for me, that just doesn't sit right," she said. "That's a lot of money and a lot more debt that I'm not prepared to take on."
SeaWorld officials said the company recognizes the layoffs are not easy and it plans to offer severance benefits and outplacement assistance to help former employees with the transition.
Former employees said the new call centers are in Jamaica and Guatemala.
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