A second Electronic Arts employee has filed a class-action lawsuit seeking overtime from the company, similar to suits filed against the company last year and against Vivendi Universal Games. The suit is also part of a general trend of Silicon Valley workers demanding proper recognition for overtime work.
Leander Hasty, a Culver City software engineer for Electronic Arts since June 2003, filed his suit against the company in state Superior Court in San Mateo. Hasty is seeking undisclosed back pay, damages and penalties for himself and fellow workers.
Since 2000, California labor law has exempted some professionals in the software industry from overtime regulations. Companies do not have to pay workers overtime if they make more than $41 an hour and engage in advanced work that is creative or intellectual in nature.
Hasty's lawyers contend that Electronic Arts' software engineers should be eligible for overtime because they "do not perform work that is original or creative," have no management responsibilities and are seldom allowed to use their own judgment.
A similar suit filed in July by a 26-year-old employee also argued that Electronic Arts' game designers are entitled to overtime like image effects workers in the film and theater industries, which are not covered by the exemption for the software industry.
A survey by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) cites rapid burnout by workers. An emotional blog by an Electronic Arts 'widow' on LiveJournal.com triggered thousands of sympathetic responses.
Next month, the developers' association and the Game Developers Conference (GDC) will hold a day long summit in San Francisco examining ways to improve quality of life for game industry workers.