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GameStop sued in New York for alleged labor violations

When is physical labor actually physical labor?

GameStop is being sued in New York State by former employee Trevon Mack, who worked for the video game retailer from 2016 to 2020.

If your eyes are glazing over because of the large number of labor lawsuits we've written about recently, we beg you, hold your gaze! For this one (spotted by Polygon) takes an interesting turn.

You see Mack (who is seeking class-action status for this lawsuit) is primarily suing over worker classification, which has to do both with the type of labor done in a workplace and how often employees are paid. Mack and his lawyers are arguing that GameStop employees in New York are "manual laborers" under state law, meaning that over 25 percent of their labor is physical, and therefore they deserve to be paid weekly, not every other week.

Does all of the stocking, organizing, and lifting that GameStop workers do qualify as manual labor under New York Law? That's quite up in the air. It does seem to look that way if you read an FAQ published by New York State, but large business are frequently able to request exemptions from state regulators.

A large number of other retailers and restaurant chains, including Apple, Cheesecake Factory, Wal-Mart, and more have apparently been sued this year for similar violations. 

GameStop's wild ride through the last few years has included a push into the NFT market, a stock surge that had little to do with financial performance and everything to do with memes, and complaints from workers who have not benefitted from its financial windfalls (and were also allegedly insufficiently protected from the spread of COVID-19).

After the weird, wild year for the video game retailer, today's lawsuit looks downright humdrum by comparison, though it will obviously have huge implications for New York employees. 

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