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Former HR manager sues Bungie for wrongful termination, alleges retaliation
A former HR manager at Destiny developer Bungie is suing the studio for wrongful termination and retaliation.
October 5, 2023
2 Min Read
As reported today by IGN, a former HR manager at Destiny developer Bungie is suing the studio for wrongful termination and retaliation. The manager in question alleges that she was laid off when she brought a case of potential racial discrimination to her own supervisor. The plaintiff, Ingrid Alm, was reportedly asked to investigate the only black employee on his 50-person team. The employee apparently told Alm that he felt unfairly singled out.
When Alm brought this up to her supervisor and recommended diversity training for the employee's supervisor, she was reportedly met with "hostility and denial," and reached out to Bungie’s director of equity and inclusion, Dr. Courtney Benjamin, for further advice. In reaching out to Benjamin, Alm claims she angered her supervisor, which resulted in a poor review of her performance, and she was told to seek an "off ramp" and exit the company.
Reportedly, just after this incident, Alm was cut off from her email and access to the Bungie platform, with no explanation, and she received no response from her supervisor when she tried to contact her. By the end of September, Alm was told her "resignation had been accepted" despite the fact that she insisted she had not intended to resign. Alm says she did not sign a document stating she had "voluntarily resigned" and she has not received a reply from an email to Bungie's chief people officer about the situation.
The complaint was filed in Washington earlier this year, according to IGN.
The IGN story notes that Bungie's response is short and does not offer an alternative explanation of the events in question. "Bungie instead either flatly denies almost every part of Alm’s narrative without further context, or denies them with the statement that Bungie 'lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the allegations.'" The story further states that a jury trial is set for January 22, 2024.
Bungie's values in question
As the piece notes, Alm was hired in May 2022, just months after reports of toxic work culture at Bungie were made public (largely thanks to an IGN report by Rebekah Valentine). Alm's story is especially damning considering the racial connotations of the incident and the toxic work culture piece from 2021.
"Even in recent years where the company was alleged to be improving, there are still glaring issues that remain. Several employees were apparently able to make derogatory comments towards Black Lives Matter or the employee resource group Black at Bungie at company town halls without pushback from leadership."
We've reached out to Bungie for comment and will update the story accordingly.
About the Author(s)
Danielle is the editor-in-chief of Game Developer, with previous editorial posts at Fanbyte, VICE, and Polygon. She’s also a lecturer in game design at the Berklee College of Music, and a hobbyist game developer in her spare time.
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