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May 2, 2006
2 Min Read
The law firm Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP of Boston, Massachusetts, has announced the filing of a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that major game publisher Activision has failed to pay overtime compensation to its California Computer Graphics employees, as required by California law. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a former Activision employee who worked as an animator for Activison and Luxoflux on titles such as True Crime: Streets Of LA between 2001 and 2004. "Activision's Computer Graphics employees, who work many overtime hours to produce Activision's profitable videogames, fully deserve to be paid all the overtime compensation to which they are entitled under the law," stated Thomas Urmy, a partner at Shapiro Haber & Urmy. The issue of unpaid overtime was most recently highlighted by software engineers winning a $14.9 million settlement from Electronic Arts, following a similar $15.6 settlement for EA artists late last year. According to the EA settlements, some of the entry level programmers and artists will be reclassified as hourly workers, making them eligible for overtime pay. In the case of the Activision lawsuit, Urmy noted that this is one of several cases that have been filed by his firm on behalf of employees in the videogame industry, including a lawsuit now pending against Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. in the San Mateo County Superior Court. The complaint alleges that Activision unlawfully classifies its Computer Graphics employees (whose responsibilities include modeling, texturing, lighting and animating images in Activision's videogames) as "exempt" from California's laws requiring overtime pay. The plaintiff is asking the court to find that Activision's compensation policy is unlawful and to award unpaid wages, penalties and punitive damages to current and former employees who were wrongfully denied overtime pay.
About the Author(s)
Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.
He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.
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