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French court overturns unfair dismissal ruling for ex-Quantic Dream dev

Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream has issued a statement after the Paris Court of Appeals invalidated one unfair dismissal ruling.

A French court has revisited one of the 2018 court cases against Quantic Dream overturned the decision of that unfair dismissal case which, at the time, found that the employee had been forced out of the studio by toxic and predatory behavior.

In a ruling shared by GamesIndustry.biz (via IGN) this week, the court has come to the consensus that the allegedly misogynistic, homophobic, and racist culture at Quantic Dream wasn't the reason for the employee's departure, and therefore the unfair dismissal ruling doesn't apply.

The earlier case concerned a number of reports published by French media outlets that levied serious misconduct allegations against Quantic Dream co-founders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumiere, and detailed other instances of toxic and predatory behavior at the studio.

Those allegations included mention of an internal collection of 600 photoshopped images, allegedly ranging from homophobic and sexist jokes to altered images of employees along those same lines.

Four former Quantic Dream employees cited the information uncovered by that report as the grounds for their unfair dismissal claims. The court sided with the ex-employee in only one of those cases and, as of this latest decision, the court has overturned the 2018 ruling on the grounds that the discovery of those images weren't directly responsible for the employee's departure from Quantic Dream.

According to the Court of Appeals, that one employee was only featured in one of the infamous photoshops in that collection of 600, and that the employee in question knew about the image when it was created in 2015, not in 2018 as he argued in the unfair dismissal case, so unfair dismissal no longer applies. As such, that individual is now on the hook to pay Quantic Dream around $12,000.

Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream, meanwhile, paints the ruling as a dismissal of those toxic culture allegations as a whole in a statement issued following the ruling

"In January 2018, three articles published in the French press made extremely serious accusations against Quantic Dream, claiming in particular a 'toxic' corporate culture, characterized by 'misogynistic,' 'sexist.' 'homophobic' and 'racist' behaviors, as well as alleged financial malpractice and supposed 'liberties taken with labor laws,'" said the company in a statement

"These accusations, formally denied by the company, its managers, its Staff Representatives, and its employees, and contradicted by the reality of objectively verifiable facts, seriously damaged the honor and reputation of the studio. On April 7, 2021, the Paris Court of Appeals issued a new court decision, which once again very clearly establishes the facts and responsibilities in this case, by dismissing the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety."

[UPDATE 6 PM ET: This story was updated to add additional context on the court's decision.]

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