In a move that was unexpected, former Telltale employees are banding together to bring a class action lawsuit against the studio in the San Francisco Federal Court. The suit is brought to the court by Vernie Roberts, a former Telltale employee who worked in the company’s IT department at their help desk. The suit was brought to the court on Monday, just two days after the company announced that it was shutting down immediately and retrenching more than 250 employees.
In the founding documents submitted as part of the complaint, Roberts alleges that Telltale Games let go of employees without due procedure, violating the WARN act which aims to protect employees that are losing their jobs as a result of staff cuts. Under the act, companies are mandated by law to notifiy their employees 60 days in advance of mass layoffs for any reason. A mass layoff is 50 employees or more at a time within a 30 day period, if the total number of losses comprises at least one third of the company’s workforce, or more than 500 workers nationwide.
In California, there’s another requirement attached to the state laws that applies the WARN act to part-time employees. Given that allegations are surfacing that Telltale hired a majority of their workers on short-term contracts, or billed them as part time employees, everyone in the company is covered under the WARN act. The 25 employees who still remain employed in the company to see the end of The Walking Dead Season 2 and to help close the company down are not included in the suit.
The claimants in the suit, which are Roberts and all 275 employees who were retrenched, are seeking a jury trial and compensation equal to the wages the employees would have received during the 60-day notice period, as well as company benefits and perks such as healthcare cover.