A laid-off Telltale employee is suing the company for violating state and federal labor laws

    
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Because this was the part that was personally resonant for you.

Though we’ve streamed some Telltale games with interactive/multiplayer elements, we seldom cover the studio, but we figure you’ll forgive us today: At the tail end of last week, Telltale Games shocked much of the industry when it laid off as many as 250 employees, reportedly all without severance. I dunno about you, but my Twitter feed has been justifiably brimming with anger over the situation and the way the employees have been treated, particularly given Telltale’s follow-up yesterday that says it’s working with partners to finish another pair of episodes of the Walking Dead after telling 250 people it was out of dough to pay their fair severance, too bad so sad. That’s… gall, even if reports that Telltale was rocked by an investor pullout are true.

When we covered it over the weekend, several commenters wondered how in the world any of this is legal. It looks as if we’re going to find out: One of the affected employees has brought a class-action lawsuit against Telltale under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The law requires companies with 100+ full-timers to give 60 days of notice prior to major layoffs. And yes, the magnitude of these layoffs appears to meet both the federal criteria and California’s far stricter requirements.

As Polygon reports, the suit filed by plaintiff Vernie Roberts Jr. seeks the requisite 60 days of wages and benefits to which he and the other former Telltale employees are entitled under the law.

Source: Scribd via Polygon
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Matt Redding

I read that the company felt since it was a ‘shut down’ not a layoff situation the California law wouldn’t apply. But, on the other hand, I think the execs are still getting paid and that’s just wrong. I think we need laws so that when companies explode the most vulnerable workers get paid first. The execs with parachutes and bonuses still paid to them should be stiffed. Frankly, some of these bankruptcies are deliberate actions to gut companies by venture capitalists, and the execs go along with it because they’re still getting paid millions. If that was blocked, maybe this toxic financial practice would end.

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Jack Pipsam

I wish anyone who wishes to take TellTale to task all the best.

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Kevin McCaughey

Computer game workers should definitely unionise. They get treated like shit over and over again and never seem to learn this lesson?

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Armsbend

Corporations have successfully made people feel bad or guilty over creating a better working environment for themselves. It is the single largest internal marketing scam ever pulled off that I know of.

I equate software workers to modern day slave labor. They get paid half or less of the amount of time they probably put in. A few years ago the US approached not paying people for un-clocked overtime but it fizzled.

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Brown Jenkin

When we covered it over the weekend, several commenters wondered how in the world any of this is legal.

Its always weird and sad when politics and gaming overlap… these interactions seem to without fail end up enlightening people on the current state of the nation.

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Sorenthaz

I’m still shocked that this even happened to Telltale, which seemed to be doing well for themselves, but I guess not well enough.

But good grief just laying 250 employees off on the spot like that without warning/severance? Yeah I’m definitely hoping this goes to be a class action lawsuit.

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Grave Knight

I hope it’s a class action.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

TELLING TALL TALES.gif
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Zora

Bleh hope the lawsuit will count as a class action for all the employees, this is no way to conduct business decently

Happened to me once, I landed on my feet because I am a “resourceful” gal (which is a byword for questionable skills at creative wealth redistribution) but I know how badly it can affect a single-income family

Go for the throat, people!

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Bryan Correll

questionable skills …………Go for the throat

So what kinda money is there in the assassination industry?

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Mr.McSleaz

“questionable skills at creative wealth redistribution”

That falls way closer to Drug Dealing than Assassination.

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Rheem Octuris

Wealth redistribution is clearly some form of larceny.

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Utakata

…or running for Congress. o.O

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Armsbend

I was thinking grifting off the welfare system.

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Utakata

…or existing off, since it probably pays very little. /bleh

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Armsbend

A means of survival until you figure things out. Which should be it’s intent – rather than something to live off of indefinitely.

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Utakata

…though it should be if need be and at livable proportions to be a just system. /shrug

Disclaimer: As you should be aware by now, when it comes to economic and income redistribution issues, I am not very status quo or “politically correct”. <3

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, but it’s funny when FN makes fun of the “freeloaders” who live in almost complete porverty even if not doing anything, while the congress is filled with people who can’t even do a job a monkey could.

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Bryan Correll

To be fair, some monkeys are pretty damn smart.
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Neurotic

I really want to hear TT’s side of things too, although I suspect it will be a while before that happens.

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Alatar

In before the declaration of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidation of assets!

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Sally Bowls

Yeah. IANAL but I don’t see how the 250 will get anything monetary from this. But they should be able to accelerate the 25 losing their jobs.

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cursedseishi

Way I’ve seen it argued, is that by putting in the lawsuit it guarantees them at least a consideration when TellTale’s assets are liquidated since the case is about as simple as can be. They (as in Telltale Studios) owe their creditors after all, but if the employees don’t push on this then they wouldn’t even be considered when its all sold out and the cash needs divvying up.

And even then, the money is guaranteed to 250. Any number of those individuals could opt out of the class action suit if they so desire.

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Sally Bowls

But does filing the lawsuit get them on the list? Wouldn’t they have to win the lawsuit before they were added to the list of creditors?

I remember my business law professor saying that the judge he worked for in Chicago pushed in settlements before him to get the unsecured creditors 1% of what they were owed. IANAL nor do I know the specifics of the case, but I think a good rule of thumb is that unsecured creditors tend to not get much.

Monetarily, just how much time and legal expense do you want to go through for uncertain payoff?

OTOH, it is understandable if this were not about the money.

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cursedseishi

While filing it alone won’t guarantee it, like I said the case is as simple as it gets. the WARN laws in California require any business losing a large percentage of its employees (the law qualifies that as minimum 50-75 from what I recall depending on whether its state or federal) to warn them well in advance of any possible or impending closures. Telltale clearly did not, when they were hiring people on up to a week before the closure. Whether or not it was under their control, they went afoul of the law.

And the suit wants to go to a trial by jury. I’m no lawyer, but when it has to go to public, there’s little that Telltale as the defendant can really do to spin their way into something that isn’t… well, bad.

And as for payouts, that would be for whomever is handling the liquidation I believe to determine. And pursuing it as a class action suit at least keeps the cost of lawyers down somewhat, as well as limit the number of potential cases raised against TT to clog up the courts. I can’t speak for the lawyer costs, but I’m sure the lead on it has already covered it or how to handle it.