Former Telltale Games employee, Vernie Roberts, is suing the company following the company wide layoffs over the weekend. Roberts, on behalf of his fellow employees, is alleging that the dismissal broke both Californian and national labor laws. The class-action lawsuit states that Telltale fired over 250 staff members “without cause” and without providing them with “advance written notice.”
Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, Telltale was required to give at least 60 days notice before laying off its staff. Furthermore, the lawsuit is claiming that Telltale terminated their employees without any severance. Kotaku is reporting that the former employees are only receiving health benefits until the end of September. As both the federal and state levels of the WARN Act were violated, the plaintiffs are requesting wages and benefits equal to 60 days for the 250+ laid off employees.
There is potential for Telltale to fight the WARN Act at the federal level, as GameDaily reports. There is a clause that excempts the company from giving fair warning if there are “unforeseen business circumstances”. Variety reported on Monday that the closure was sudden and unpredicted as potential financial partners suddenly backed out. If this is the case, the sudden loss of any and all financial support could act as an “unforeseen business circumstance”. Richard Hoeg, attorney at Hoeg Law, spoke to GameDaily an outlined that while this is a potential way for Telltale to fight the lawsuit at the federal level, the Californian WARN Act doesn’t contain any such clause.
“The fact that California did not bring over the pertinent exemption would seem to put [Telltale] in a precarious compliance position with the state,” Hoeg told GameDaily.
While yesterday Gamers Classified reported there was potential hope that Telltale could find a potential partner to help finish The Walking Dead: The Final Season, this lawsuit is most likely the final nail in the coffin.