Telltale Games is not having a good week. There was the recent shock announcement that the studio behind The Walking Dead and the Wolf Amongst Us is going into majority closure. And now an ex-employee is now filing a class-action lawsuit against the company, claiming that Telltale’s sudden dismissal of hundreds of employees (none of whom will receive severance packages) violates Californian labour laws.
Since the initial news about the majority closure broke, Kotaku has published a pretty damning report that details just how poorly Telltale handled the situation. After the announcement, employees had 30 minutes to leave the premises. And in addition to the lack of severance pay, the company also provided no warning or notice about it’s imminent closure to its staff. One employee had joined Telltale only a week prior to the announcement (and had relocated to do so), whilst another was on a work visa, and now only has days to leave the country.
Now, ex-employee Vernie Roberts has submitted a class-action lawsuit in San Francisco (the city where the company is based), on behalf of Telltale’s staff. The action relies on the Cal-WARN Act, which states that “an employer may not order a mass layoff, relocation, or termination…unless, 60 days before the order takes effect, the employer gives written notice of the order.”
Without getting into the nitty gritty of US-state law, Roberts’ claim, if successful, would mean that the approximately 275 Telltale employees who are affected by the company’s sudden closure would be entitled to 60 days worth of pay and benefits, plus interest.
Unless there’s some revelation from Telltale that puts a new perspective on everything (they have unsurprisingly been very quiet this week), it’s impossible not to sympathise with the employees on this one. Here’s hoping that they receive some compensation for this ugly situation that they’ve been forced to endure.