A laid-off Telltale employee has slapped his former company with a class-action lawsuit for violating federal and state labor laws.
Telltale Games stunned the world when they abruptly announced their closure last Friday, laying off hundreds of employees and leaving a skeleton crew of 25 to continue winding down the business. The move not only shocked gamers, but also Telltale’s employees, who up until September 21st, thought that everything was just business as usual.
Then they were all told that the company was shutting down and were asked to leave the building in thirty minutes. There was no warning, no severance pay, and health benefits would only last until the end of the month.
Barely a few days later, a former Telltale employee filed suit against the company in San Francisco's Federal Court. Vernie Roberts states in his suit that Telltale laid-off employees "without cause" and without “advance written notice as required by the WARN Act.”
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 requires most employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60 days notice before plant closings or mass layoffs. The intent was to provide laid-off employees with time to transition to a new company or to seek job retraining before losing their source of income.
As usual for California, the state has its version of the WARN act that is even more stringent. The state-level law reduces the threshold for warning employees down to 75 and requires advance notice be sent out even for reductions of just 50 employees.
According to Roberts’ complaint, Telltale’s layoffs amounted to 275 people, which included the 250 let go on Friday and the 25 people still winding down the business.
If the suit is successful, Telltale would be required to provide all former employees with 60 days salary in addition to extending benefits by the same amount.
However, Variety points out that Telltale could argue that “unforeseen business circumstances” caused the company to fail and would bypass the federal requirement of providing 60-days notice. However, this argument could only be made for the federal complaint, as California does not allow any exceptions due to unforeseen circumstances.
Meanwhile, former Telltale employees are still out of a job, and it could be months before this class-action suit makes its way to trial.