As originally noted here and here, there have been accusations of workers being run into the ground at Electronic Arts. Today, NPR is reporting that three
heroes of the revolution employees (Jamie Kirschenbaum, Mark West and Eric Kearns) have filed a class action suit against EA for failing to pay overtime compensation. The lawsuit alleges, among other things:
“In failing to properly compensate Plaintiffs and the Class for overtime hours worked, Defendants acted maliciously, oppressively, and/or fraudulently, and such despicable conduct designed to maximize the Defendants’ economic gain was carried out with the wrongful intention of causing injury to Plaintiffs and the Class, in willful and conscious disregard of the rights of Plaintiffs..”
A quick scan seems to say that anyone who worked for EA in a similar role as Kirchenbaum, West and Kearns between July 29, 2000 and whenever the case gets resolved may be part of the class.
If you’re into lawyerese, the full complaint is up here.
As this evolves, three things to watch for:
1) The original post from ea_spouse has now generated nearly four thousand comments. Will that post, ea_spouse, or any of the commenters be involved in this in any way, either as part of the proceedings or as members of the class?
2) In skimming some of the chatter around the original ea_spouse post, it seems that the practices around overtime and a high-stress, micromanaged work environment may be endemic to the whole games industry. Will other game providers also face similar lawsuits?
3) What, if any, will be the customer reaction to this? Will customers begin to move to fix this, a la Nike?