As we all know, Telltale Games has recently ‘let go’ of hundreds of their employees in the last week. After a gut-wrenching tweet from Clementine’s Melissa Hutchison, it looks like Telltale’s The Walking Dead could possibly be left unfinished. Fans are in agony over the uncertain fate the long-running franchise. This is an adventure that many started in 2012, and to not know the conclusion of the epic journey would be a devastation. TTG have yet to hammer the nail on a final decision, but things are looking undeniably grim. Impending doom aside, things couldn’t get worse, right? Cue telltale games lawsuit.
Telltale Games Lawsuit filed by laid-off Ex-Employee
In an article by TSS Gaming, an employee named Vernie Roberts has decided to sure the company due to its “breach in labor laws”. The argument was that TTG commenced the layoff without issuing an advanced notice which is required by the WARN act.
Here are my findings from the internet.
The WARN Act is a US labor law which requires employers with over 100 employees to issue a 60-day notice prior to mass layoffs. This is to provide employees with a transition phase to make necessary adjustments and preparations. The Act covers employment loss for 50-499 employees should it make up of at least 33% of the employer’s active workforce. In the case of TTG, they do seem to fit right under the jurisdiction of the WARN Act.
However, there does seem to be a snag.
Layoffs due to ‘Economic’ Reasons
The WARN Act requires employers to give notice of any mass layoff that does not result from a plant closing. Based on my understanding, that means that as long as TTG shut down one or more departments, the layoff is not covered by the Act. Layoffs not covered by the Act and due to economic reasons usually result in immediate employment termination.
Is there ANY good news yet?
Layoffs have proven to be a very effective tool in keeping a company alive. In fact, several companies have implemented temporary layoffs to regain their footing and succeeded in braving the trials. They would then rehire a majority of their laid off employees. For TTG, heavily reducing the 200+ member workforce was probably a method to save costs and prevent bigger problems. They have already tweeted that they’ve been approached by several parties to offer assistance in releasing episodes 3 and 4.
Telltale Games has been in the industry since 2004. After their big break in 2012 with The Walking Dead, they’ve done little with the formula to remain relevant in the market. Like they themselves mentioned: “overwhelming response… did not translate to sales.” In the eyes of the public, every Telltale game is just TWD but with a different franchise.