SeaWorld lays off nearly 100 customer service employees in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — Around 100 SeaWorld employees were told Monday they're out of a job.

The employees worked for a call center in Orlando, which handles customer service for all of SeaWorld's parks.

Some of those laid off workers said they're really upset because they said 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 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 without warning, about 100 people were just laid off.

The call center handles customer service for all 12 of SeaWorld's parks across the country.

"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.

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 said she’s a grad student and the company agreed to pay them 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 it recognizes the layoffs are not easy and it plans to offer severance benefits and outplacement assistance to help with the transition.

Former employees said the call centers are in Jamaica and Guatemala.

DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live

Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD