EA Employees Unhappy, Attempt Class Action Lawsuit

EA is getting a bit of bad press lately from disgruntled employees, and spouses of disgruntled employees. The first was an anonymous posting on a LiveJournal account by “ea_spouse”:http://www.livejournal.com/users/ea_spouse/. The posting got Slashdotted, Gamespotted, and probably every other site-name-as-verb you can get. The entry has well over 1,000 comments, many of which are from current or past employees of EA with similar complaints. Then “Joe Straitiff”:http://www.livejournal.com/users/joestraitiff/368.html, a one-time EA employee who was recently fired, posted his story of being overworked and underpaid while employed at the gaming giant.

Now Gamespot is “reporting”:http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/11/11/news_6112998.html that Attorney Robert C. Schubert is attempting to organize a class action lawsuit against EA for unpaid overtime.

It has long been the norm in the gaming industry to work extremely long hours, especially during “crunch time” at the end of a project. Most people working in the gaming industry love it enough to dedicate the majority of their lives to it, but as the industry grows and consolidates more and more, it sounds like it’s turning into more of a sweatshop than a creative and challenging profession. At least by some of the accounts recently getting news on the ‘net. I’m sure it’s not the case in every studio, as you can learn from reading some of the positive comments in ea_spouse’s entry.

Do they have reason to complain? Some of the comments seem to be that if they hate it so much, they should work somewhere else. While unrealistic for most people, it is a pretty good point. Joe’s entry mentioned he got 6-figures just to cover his relocation costs, which doesn’t sound like such a bad deal to me.

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