Two Tecmo employees, including developer Hiroaki Ozawa, have filed suit with the Tokyo District Court against developer and publisher Tecmo, seeking ¥8.3 million (approx. $77,000) for unpaid overtime on behalf of the company's 300 employees, according to Japanese media reports translated by
game weblog Kotaku.
The suit alleges that Tecmo illegally placed workers in a "flexible hours" work scheme starting four years ago. Under the scheme, workers were not paid appropriately for their overtime hours.
The new suit follows Tecmo's Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki's announcement earlier this month that he would be resigning from Tecmo
effective July 1st. He also revealed that he filed a complaint against the company and Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda for unpaid completion bonuses regarding Dead or Alive 4's
development for the Xbox 360, claiming ¥148 million (approx. $1.4 million) in damages.
Responding to Itagaki's complaint, representatives from Tecmo clarified with Gamasutra
that the company had no choice but to accept the developer's resignation due to the accompanying lawsuit, and stated that the bonus in question is "in regards to a claim to an incentive bonus linked to a past project."
In addition to arguing that employees regularly exceeded over 100 hours per month in unpaid overtime, the suit also claims that Tecmo created false documents to cover up the accounting documents. Officials are currently looking into the allegations to determine if Tecmo violated labor laws.
The overtime suit echoes similar U.S. lawsuits
regarding unpaid overtime for game developers, all settled in recent years by companies ranging from Sony through EA to Activision.