The ongoing drama over at Telltale Games with their sudden closure and ensuing mass layoffs continues today with one former employee filing suit against the company. According to Polygon, Vernie Roberts, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Telltale on behalf of himself and other coworkers that had also been abruptly laid off.
The suit claims that the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act, which requires businesses with over 100 employees to provide a 60-day advance notice before closing a business or laying off en masse their workforce. The act clearly defines mass layoffs as being 50 or more employees within 30 days – a number which Telltale easily surpassed.
Polygon has reported that businesses failing to provide the required advanced 60 days notification stipulated by the WARN Act may be subject to “significant financial penalties.” In this case, Telltale would have to pay all laid-off employees “an amount equal to the wages and benefits that the workers would receive if their employment continued for 60 days after their termination, plus interest, in accordance with the federal and California versions of the WARN Act.”
One issue worth noting here is that the federal and California versions of the WARN Act differ in one crucial way – the federal version of the act has a clause which states that businesses can be exempt from the 60 day notification if they encounter “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable.” This being the case, Telltale can argue that the circumstances which led to their abrupt closure were not “reasonably foreseeable,” making them both exempt from the advanced notice as well as helping them avoid paying the remuneration sought by the plaintiffs.
The California version of the law doesn’t include this notation giving Roberts a much better chance of winning in the state courts.
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