Telltale's mass layoffs prompt class-action lawsuit alleging labor law violations

Polycount

Posts: 2,680   +562
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Coming hot on the heels of reports that Telltale Games fired 90 percent of its workforce without severance, the soon-to-be-shuttered development studio is facing even more problems.

According to a report from Polygon, laid-off Telltale team member Vernie Roberts has lodged a class-action lawsuit against his former employer, on behalf of his fired peers and himself.

The crux of Roberts' argument reportedly lies in his belief that Telltale violated California's version of the "WARN Act," which requires larger companies to give soon-to-be-fired workers 60 days notice before a mass layoff.

From a layman's point of view, Roberts' case seems pretty solid. If what we understand about the debacle is accurate, Telltale's mass layoffs do fit the criteria for a WARN violation; Telltale did have more than 75 workers prior to the firings, and leadership did lay off more than 50 employees in a short period of time.

Furthermore, it doesn't seem like the studio gave its employees advance notice about its impending destruction. However, the question remains: what does Roberts -- and his fellow employees, if they join his cause -- hope to gain from Telltale at this point?

If a company is willing to lay off 90 percent of its staff without severance, leaving only a small skeleton crew to finish the next episode of The Walking Dead's final season, it's probably because said company has run out of funds, or at least come very close to it.

In this case, Telltale probably doesn't have much left. Even if Roberts' case was successful, it's tough to say how much a victory would benefit him and his former peers.

With that said, as Polygon notes, if a court does find that Telltale was in the wrong it could force the company to hand over whatever funds it has left to affected employees - no matter how small the amounts may be.

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GeforcerFX

Posts: 969   +453
You were let go because the company you worked for ran into a serious financial situation. Your going to try to sue your broke (key part) former employer for severance, so when it's all settled you and the 200 coworkers fired can take the couple hundred each that's left over after the lawyers get cherry pick. This is why you have to prepare yourself for stuff like this to happen, if a company collapses your not going to get severance or back pay, having savings is a life saver, and we have fall backs like unemployment to keep you going while on your job search.
 

Bubbajim

Posts: 720   +694
You were let go because the company you worked for ran into a serious financial situation. Your going to try to sue your broke (key part) former employer for severance, so when it's all settled you and the 200 coworkers fired can take the couple hundred each that's left over after the lawyers get cherry pick. This is why you have to prepare yourself for stuff like this to happen, if a company collapses your not going to get severance or back pay, having savings is a life saver, and we have fall backs like unemployment to keep you going while on your job search.
It very much looks like Telltale broke the law, and you think the guy going to court is the one in the wrong? If someone had their car stolen, would you justify it saying they should have been getting the bus anyway?
 
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Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,559   +607
This will be a very interesting legal situation, and the results could have pretty big impact on the entire gaming industry.

I'm curious to see how the severance thing is handled, considering the financial rug was pulled out from under the company and they potentially HAVE no money to provide severance, let alone pay their entire staff for the additional 60 days if they gave them notice. That whole "squeezing blood from a rock" saying comes to mind. :)

Will also be interesting to see how many of those "employees" were actually contract workers, which in many cases are handled by a slightly different set of rules as far as many labor laws are concerned.