In the wake of the news that Electronic Arts recently settled its overtime lawsuit, resulting in a payout of $14.9 million and a reclassification for some employees as hourly workers, a Boston law firm, Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP today announced that a class action lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Activision, Inc.
The suit, Erimez v. Activision, Inc., was filed on behalf of a former animator at one of Activision's California studios and charges that Activision failed to pay overtime compensation to its California Computer Graphics employees, as required by California law. The complaint further alleges that Activision unlawfully classifies these artists as "exempt" from California's laws requiring overtime pay. As such, "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."
"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," commented Thomas Urmy, a partner at the law firm. The plaintiff in the Activision case is also represented by Schubert & Reed LLP and Rukin Hyland & Doria LLP, both of San Francisco, California.
Urmy added that the Activision case is one of several 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. "Excessive overtime is endemic in the videogame industry, but we hope that this and other lawsuits will spur major changes in the way employers treat their employees," he said.
Urmy also pointed to a couple websites that were set up for people who want to participate in or assist with either the Activision or SCEA lawsuits. Those interested should visit activisionovertime.com and sonyovertime.com.