Jun 27, 2007

Sony forced to pay over $8.5 million to unpaid employees

Sony opted to settle with a group of California employees who had banded together to file a class-action lawsuit against the troubled video game console manufacturer for unpaid overtime hours. It cost Sony some $8.5 million to put the mess behind them.

Kudos to the brave employees who opted to take the giant on. And shame on Sony for treating its employees in an illegal fashion.

Some are calling this recent move by Sony employees one of the latest moves in a trend started earlier this year by Electronic Arts employees who extracted over $30 million from that company for exactly the same issue.

Video game producer, Activision has also agreed to a similar settlement with its employees.

Hopefully this trend will continue as video game industry workers take collective steps to improve working conditions in their trade.

Currently, during what is called "crunch time," or the last few weeks preceding a game's launch date, it is considered norm in the industry for workers to pull up 16+ hour shifts while working seven-day weeks.

The Campbell-Liberal government in British Columbia, during their sweeping changes to the BC Employment Standards Act, placed "tech-sector workers" in the same category as farm workers, effectively removing their rights regarding overtime pay, and a numerous other areas. This move is widely considered to have been part of a deal between Campbell and Electronic Arts who owns a large studio in Vancouver. EA was supposed to have built another large centre, purportedly creating tonnes of jobs in the province in exchange for lax labour laws. After Campbell kept his part of the bargain, EA didn't, and when they decided to build their new centre in another city.

This site, set up by two former EA employees, is acting as a watchdog on the industry.
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