Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Telltale Games Sued for Breaking Labor Laws

Former Telltale Games employee files lawsuit against the company for violating California’s state labor laws.

Last week, we came to know that video game developer/publisher Telltale Games is going out of business and this tragic event hit everyone pretty hard; especially the 250 employees they have laid off without any prior notice or any form of severance for their relentless services.

What comes after this shocking news is that one of their former employees, who got laid off during this closure event decided to sue the company in a class-action lawsuit for violating labor laws of California.

telltale games layoffs warn act lawsuit
Telltale Games Sued for Breaking Labor Laws

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This Monday, Vernie Roberts have submitted the lawsuit in the federal court of San Francisco on behalf of himself and his fellow workers who got laid-off. He said, the employees were fired without a proper cause or any advance written notice in the complaint, violating the WARN Act.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, formed back in 1988 requires a company having at least 100 full-time workers to be notified 60 days in advance in case of a closure event or a mass layoff.

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By "mass layoff" it defines, a cutback of 50 or more employees, that has to be at least one-third of the entire workforce within a 30-day period. However, the state-level version of WARN Act in California established in 2003, requires more strict conditions but still requires an advance notice of 60 days.

Since Telltale had a total of around 275 workers and redacted 250 of them, their number is more than a mere one-third. They were denied of any severance except health benefits until the end of month.

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Filed on September 24, 2018, the class-action lawsuit against Telltale Games by Vernie Roberts Jr. is below for you to take a look at the full complaint.



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Defying the WARN Act by attempting studio closure or a mass layoff without 60 days' advance notice can cause a company to deal with major financial penalties. Instead of paying fines, they are to pay benefits and salaries to the ones affected for each day of the violation period.

Apparently, Telltale didn't follow the procedure and if the applicant wins the lawsuit, then Telltale would have to provide salary and benefits to all of those 275 employees for 60 days following their termination period.

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The studio is currently working with only 25 employees to complete their Minecraft: Story Mode interactive adaption for Netflix. Other planned projects like Stranger Things game and The Wolf Among Us 2 eventually got cancelled when they planned their closure.

Fate of their ongoing project The Walking Dead: The Final Season also became somewhat uncertain after that announcement but they are trying to complete that with help from third parties except for paying their former workers.

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When they announced to complete the final two episodes of Telltale's Walking Dead: The Final Season on Twitter, fans was quick to point out on social media that they need to do something about those 250 employees laid off recently aside from finishing Clementine's unfinished tale.

Game director Cory Barlog of God of War was one of the first to comment about paying up the former team their severance. Many other fans and even a former Telltale member Job Stauffer came forward concerning this issue.




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Telltale has released no official statement on the matter about whether or not they are planning to offer any sort of compensation to those 250 former staffs or provide opportunity of working on The Final Season if they get to finish it with help from partners.

This rises for a need to form a union of industry workers to deal with those unpaid long hours and one-sided contracts. Ultimately, these folks will carry this bitter experience for their life and will make them rethink to come back to video game industry.