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DeathTrip
02-21-2005, 08:10 PM
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=4990

http://www.gamasutra.com/db_area/images/layout/99_icon_arrow.gifEA Hit By Second Employee Lawsuit (http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=4990)

A second Electronic Arts employee has filed a class-action lawsuit seeking overtime from the company, similar to suits filed against the company last year and against Vivendi Universal Games. The suit is also part of a general trend of Silicon Valley workers demanding proper recognition for overtime work.

Leander Hasty, a Culver City software engineer for Electronic Arts since June 2003, filed his suit against the company in state Superior Court in San Mateo. Hasty is seeking undisclosed back pay, damages and penalties for himself and fellow workers.

Since 2000, California labor law has exempted some professionals in the software industry from overtime regulations. Companies do not have to pay workers overtime if they make more than $41 an hour and engage in advanced work that is creative or intellectual in nature.

Hasty's lawyers contend that Electronic Arts' software engineers should be eligible for overtime because they "do not perform work that is original or creative," have no management responsibilities and are seldom allowed to use their own judgment.

A similar suit filed in July by a 26-year-old lead programmer also argued that Electronic Arts' game designers are entitled to overtime like image effects workers in the film and theater industries, which are not covered by the exemption for the software industry.

A survey by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) cites rapid burnout by workers. An emotional blog by an Electronic Arts 'widow' on LiveJournal.com triggered thousands of sympathetic responses.

Next month, the developers' association and the Game Developers Conference (GDC) will hold a day long summit in San Francisco examining ways to improve quality of life for game industry workers.

Xevious
02-21-2005, 08:27 PM
That link you posted required a site login. Do you have another one?

Kenny_Rocks
02-21-2005, 09:01 PM
God Damn It !

I Agree Sue the Ba**ards !!

I have to work 6 days a week at the moment to finish a game.
It sucks I am exhausted and never get time to see my family.
I also get no Overtime !!

rwijaya
02-21-2005, 09:12 PM
good for them ! hope they win the case

percydaman
02-21-2005, 09:50 PM
Since 2000, California labor law has exempted some professionals in the software industry from overtime regulations. Companies do not have to pay workers overtime if they make more than $41 an hour and engage in advanced work that is creative or intellectual in nature.


thats the silliest labor law ive ever heard of. Just because you make a certain wage does not mean you should have to wear a "beat me" sign along with it. Oh and is $41 an hour really all that much in cali?

firestar3d
02-21-2005, 10:38 PM
I wholeheartedly agree when people say that these games companies (EA especially) need to be taught a lesson. What really makes my blood boil is when I read stories about managers telling anyone who even hints at complaining that they're replaceable. What annoys me even more is when you get morons and idiots who tell you to stop complaining, or "whining" about the hours, and that they do the same thing and enjoy it. 90+ hours a week means zero time to yourself, let alone if you've got a family, they'll end up being destroyed emotionally by the strain.

I'm thankful I'll never work in the games industry.

Edit: While I think about it, as a UK Citizen, if a company tried it over here, the CEO would find themselves inside a jail cell for a long time.

leuey
02-22-2005, 12:09 AM
Apparently not according to 3rd poster up above who seems to be from the UK.

-Greg



Edit: While I think about it, as a UK Citizen, if a company tried it over here, the CEO would find themselves inside a jail cell for a long time.

CaptainJackSparrow
02-22-2005, 01:48 AM
I agree, a lot of games company managers have no soul. They are greedy and treat their workers **** and deserve to pay up. Quite frankly, they are scum.

richcz3
02-22-2005, 02:43 AM
If you think its bad now wait to see what its like in 2006-07. Certain publishers who are doing ok now will probably try to merge, consolodate, or just go under. That and the talent pool is only getting deeper to choose from.

ExtraNoise
02-22-2005, 03:30 AM
I had initially had quite an interest in working for EA, but since all of this, I've been quite discouraged from ever wanting to work for them. I would now rather stay as far away as possible from EA, and hopefully others in my position would agree.

firestar3d
02-22-2005, 07:54 AM
Apparently not according to 3rd poster up above who seems to be from the UK.

-Greg

It's the law. Working Time Directives do not have any exceptions save this one: You can sign a waiver and "voluntarily" opt out. Without that signature however, if a company tries to make you work more than 48 hours in any given week, they're breaking the law, andthat is not open to interpretation.

I know that some companies ask you to sign the waiver, and if that happens then they're legally entitled to "ask" (read:demand) you to work overtime. Also, companies dazzle you with promises etcetc, that if you sign the waiver you'll get overtimne perks that never materialise. I've never worked salary, I've always worked on an hourly rate. It discourages a company from asking me to work more than my set hours every week, and means that they would only do so when they absolutely needed it.

It's also possible that the poster above in the UK is working within the 48 hours directive. It depends on several factors. Unfortunately travel time is not included, so for instance, if you lived some place that was 4 hours drive away and it took 8 hours round trip, then that's not included and it could easily get to a point where it becomes a joke. That, or he would have to find accommodation within the local area during working days, meaning he never gets to go home except on his days off. Exhaustion also means that all he would be doing is sleeping.

OTOH he could have also signed the waiver as mentioned above. A company can refuse to hire you if you don't sign it (legally they're not allowed to discriminate, but that point only matters if the potential employee has the nerve to actually see them theough a court case, so unfortunately they can get away with it in many cases). And once you've signed that waiver then legally the company has you by the knackers.

However, even with that in mind, a 90 hour week would be a punishing schedule, and many judges would look upon it dimly. Also the issue I mentioned about companies not hiring anyone who doesn't sign the waiver, if that issue got to court, would lead to heavy fines/penalties/sentencing.

It's not as bad as California, there are no exemption laws here that an Employee has no choice over (legally), even if a company tries to get around it. Therefore my original comments stands. If they tried it over here with an employee that didn't opt out of the Working Time Directives, they would end up serving jail time.

Leionaaad
02-22-2005, 08:44 AM
On a jiu jitsu training a guy pissed the master off a little, and he was punished: He had to wipe the floor 4 times, standing on his knees. next week I hered he had to make surgery on his knees.
Did I learned a lesson? Yes, of course: I have to do anything my supperiors say, without questioning his authority. It is called loyalty...
You can walk away from anything you don't like...Everybody can be replaced in a very short time.

alexyork
02-22-2005, 10:09 AM
You can walk away from anything you don't like...Everybody can be replaced in a very short time.

Walk away? I wonder if you'd take your own advice if this happened to you...

Leionaaad
02-22-2005, 10:35 AM
in the last two weeks I worked from 8 in the morning to late 11 Pm, side by side with my boss. Saturdays and Sundays included. We didn't discuss about the payment, and I have the strong feeling this will all be forgotten. But he is my boss, he can do this, and I just have to accept this, or keep walking. But I worked hard to get to this agency and I like to work under pressure. I am an extremelly cruel person, especially with myself. This means yes, I would walk away, without a second thought, if I don't like it anymore.

amirjahanlou
02-22-2005, 10:38 AM
Hmm


I amjust wondering why every one is saying about the game industry and not the commercial industry.

Here it happenes and there time sheets to prove it that we sometimes work 16 hours a day for 2 weeks streigh forward without weekend.

At the moment am just wondering if it is the same every where or is it just happening to us.

I know about Feature film industry ( at least the ones I know ) they mention an over in the contract perhaps around 54 hours a week ( meaning an extra 1 hour per week ) that won't be paid .


Any Ideas??????

(...)
02-22-2005, 11:50 AM
Hasty's lawyers contend that Electronic Arts' software engineers should be eligible for overtime because they "do not perform work that is original or creative,"

Ouch.

On a jiu jitsu training a guy pissed the master off a little, and he was punished: He had to wipe the floor 4 times, standing on his knees. next week I hered he had to make surgery on his knees. Did I learned a lesson? Yes, of course: I have to do anything my supperiors say, without questioning his authority. It is called loyalty...

No offense intended, but that's not called loyalty. It's called being sycophantic. You have free will, use it.

jeffthomann
02-22-2005, 12:36 PM
God, I'd love to be making $41/hour!!!

percydaman
02-22-2005, 12:48 PM
haha me too, especially where Im living... But that wouldn't mean Im open to being taken to task with a big stick...lol I have very little patience for this type of stuff. I mean we are artists creating art for the purpose of making SOMEONE ELSE loads of money... why do people have to be greedy and a-holes about it? What happened to a little loyalty to your employees? Ill never show an ounce of loyalty to someone who doesn't respect me...

CaptainJackSparrow
02-22-2005, 01:01 PM
Loyalty? You think EA or a lot of games companies are big on loyalty?

Not a chance. It's all about the money. Them making money that is. Employees are expendable and easily replaceable. Many I suspect live in fear of losing their jobs.

If you learn one thing it should be 'don't let yourself get exploited'. Don't be a shmuck and work long hours and all your weekends and holidays for poor pay. You think you will get rewarded for that? Don't count on it. These people only care about making money, more money and then more money!

Maybe if more people stood up for themselves things might improve, but it's difficult, too many people accept whatever is given to them, and in a way you can't blame them, supply is high and it's a buyers' market.

Not like that everywhere, I think it's more prevalent in games, in any case, but still. Sucks. Man I hate corporate greed.

Xeom
02-22-2005, 03:24 PM
Im still in high school but that sounds horrible,I truely hate EA,To start with many of thier games arnt that good,and who doesnt love thier great corp strats.

competition to tuff for you? no problem just buy out the NFL,
Also lets try a hostile take over of ubisoft,Because hey! who doesnt love a monopoly.

Starting to make MS look like puppies.

Ibah
02-22-2005, 05:01 PM
this pisses me of as a student.. because deep inside, ii would liek to have such a job later.. working for a big game company, doing cinematics or something.

and they also know a lot of use really would love to work at such a level. and than, than they still have the guts to use you like some tool, not more.. just replace it when they are done, and not even paying you right. that is just the lowest thing you could do.

they would do much better if they payed there people good, and also overtime. and motivate there people more instead of sucking the life out of them.

i hope these guys win, and ea gets a big fat check to pay.. maybe that would bring some sense to them. because if they think it s all about the money.. than just give it to them where it hurts the most, i n there wallet.

suck them dry:scream:

Shaderhacker
02-22-2005, 05:15 PM
Well, EA seems to be shooting themselves in the foot. I can't say I would never work there, but I tell you, I would have a different contract or they wouldn't hire me. Either way, perhaps this news will get to the smaller companies so that they change the way they work as well (if it's similar to EA's work habits).

I'm also glad I was overlooked in the hiring process by so many realtime graphics-based companies..

I probably wouldn't have lasted long anyway given those kinds of work conditions..


-M

firestar3d
02-22-2005, 05:46 PM
In my view I would have refused to work the hours, and then I would get replaced.

Better though, that I stand up for my rights and get replaced, than risk my life and health. After all, with a marketable skill I will look for another job, and with my choice of career I can go freelance (I'm not in this for the games industry anyway).

DiMENSiON
02-22-2005, 08:45 PM
I have to do anything my supperiors say, without questioning his authority. It is called loyalty...

We are borg... :p

Tan
02-22-2005, 10:22 PM
Here (commercial industry) it happenes and there time sheets to prove it that we sometimes work 16 hours a day for 2 weeks streigh forward without weekend.

At the moment am just wondering if it is the same every where or is it just happening to us.

The videogame industry is the worst.

EA makes their employees work 100 hours a week (no weekends, not even Sunday) for 2 months. EA LA even had laundry service for all of them.

Azmodan Kijur
02-22-2005, 11:20 PM
On a jiu jitsu training a guy pissed the master off a little, and he was punished: He had to wipe the floor 4 times, standing on his knees. next week I hered he had to make surgery on his knees.
Did I learned a lesson? Yes, of course: I have to do anything my supperiors say, without questioning his authority. It is called loyalty...
You can walk away from anything you don't like...Everybody can be replaced in a very short time.

Part of what you say here is true. Loyalty is a valid part of working for someone. If there is no loyalty, there is no trust - and without trust, there is nothing.

However, as a counter to your argument, you must remember that just as you are loyal to your Boss and co-workers, so must they be loyal to you in kind. I work as an auditor in a fairly small office. I grant my manager and my overall boss my loyalty, but they in give it in kind. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a "thanks, nice job". Other times its an accrual for time served so that I may have time off later. They respect me and treat me as a member of the office, not as some monkey grunt to use and discard. In exchange I give them my all each day. That is real loyalty. There can be no real loyalty in a vacuum.

SpiralFace
02-22-2005, 11:41 PM
Any working professional can feel free to shoot down whatever I am about to say about what I beleave I understand about the game industry.

But from what I know, I think the problem is that the Developers get shafted at every single frigin turn in the game development process. Despite the fact that they make the games to begin with. Lets face it. Games are a lucrative buisness. But if they are so lucrative, where in god's name is all the money going? From what I have come to understand, it all goes back to the publishers. Basicaly, a Designer studio will start to build a project on their own money, then they go and pitch it to a publisher. When they find a publiser willing to invest in a project, then they get money from the publisher to finish the project, the publisher will then do the following things;
Quality Assurance testing,
Factory Production,
Pay the COMPANY a flat fee that gets turned into a budget in order for the game to get out the door.

When you end up spending your 50 bucks on a game, some of that money goes to the retail outlet that you bought it from, the Distributor for that retail outlet, the council licence holders (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, ect.), and then finaly the Publisher (EA, Namco, Konami, ect.) but NONE of it goes back to the Developers. I can see where this originated from, back in the day that when you developed a game, you more then likely published it as well. But in this day and age, there are Developers that must then go to a publisher in order to get sponsership for their game (Like Oddworld inhabitants, Factor 5, ect.) And they get NOTHING out of a deal. To the publishers they are just doing a job. But for crying out loud, the Developers are more often then not the creative juices that build up licences to begin with, and they get nothing for their creativity save mabe more work from different clients.
There are still Publishers that have in-house Development, like EA, Konami, Nintendo, ect. And these guys are the worst of them all, becuase the company themselves are getting the money from a good game, but there just too darn greedy to give it up to the people who made the game itself.

Here is what I think has to happen. I think that 3rd party developers should all unanimously bid on getting a cut of the profit from what their publishers are makeing. This will give more funding to them to iether pay their workers what they deserve, or get new workers so the older ones can at least spend time with their familys. In the case of in-house developers, the companys should recognize development teams and give them a bigger peice of the pie then what their getting now. They are the guys makeing the dang product to begin with. This is'nt the Clothing industry, and CG artists are far from sweat shop workers. We make the dang games that make the publishers money and I think we deserve at least some of the profits when a game is sucessfull (The companys that make the games invest money in them so why are they the only ones that don't get a peice of the profit pie?)
And for the Companys, ENFORCE a higher work ethic. What I mean by this is that from what I've seen in some companys, there are people who show up, and from the moment they walk through the door begin to work for 8-16 hours on what they are supposed to do. But manytimes, I've seen that there are always one or two people on the team that are nothing but dead weight, and do nothing but are on the internet or playing video games themselves for "Referance" purposes. That or they sit around their desk waiting to get "Inspired" to work. I understand that many artists need to get insparation to push them to do creative work. But one of the biggest arguments that companys have against paying creative staffs overtime is that sometimes the artists don't physicaly work for 8 hours. If companys began to punish those that sit around and do nothing for long durations while they are on the clock, then they no longer have that argument to hold against the artists and programmers, so then teams can DEMAND overtime, becuase they are physicaly working from the moment they step though the door to the moment they get out.

I personaly that it is complete and utter BS that these companys do this and make so much money off of the hard working developers. And we're all replacible simply becuase there are always going to be those Gameing geeks that will give up anything just to make games. Includeing taking Mcdonalds wages and just continue to live in their parrents basements till their 40.

As I've said before. This is just my gripe based on what I think I know. If any real professional wants to shoot me down please feel free to.

mrZack
02-23-2005, 12:39 AM
usually there are 2 sides to every story, but since it's EA, I say " FCUK EA "!!!

firestar3d
02-23-2005, 05:52 AM
Part of what you say here is true. Loyalty is a valid part of working for someone. If there is no loyalty, there is no trust - and without trust, there is nothing.

Not to invalidate your quote here, it's very much how it should be. Just offering another POV on the word Loyalty.

Loyalty means giving your best to someone and not jumping ship at the first sign of trouble, or at a time when someone else gives a better offer. There's obviously more to it than that, but essentially it's voluntary and not based on fear of the consequences of leaving. When you're being loyal to something or someone you are standing with them because you choose to do so and because you want to do anything you can to help them. It does not mean that you are standing by them because if you do not you lose your job and it does not mean that you run yourself into the ground because if you do otherwise they'll cut you off.

That's called forced subservience. You're making yourself their wage slaves and leaving yourself in a position that you simply cannot get out of without causing yourself financial difficulties, especially if you have a house and a family (or even for a single guy who likes to go out and have fun, socialise with other people and maintain as much non-work huiman contact as possible), as opposed to someone living in the cheapest flat they can find, stays in the office or in their home and simply hoards all their earnings (they would then have a safety net to look for another job while getting out of the "work camps") - which most people don't do because they want a life, and so are forced to remain in their jobs because if they leave without some sort of financial safety net, they would have difficulties in between jobs (and therefore would take the first job offered simply because they have no choice, possibly leaving them back in the same situation).

And if I wanted such utter disrespect as those bosses at EA dish out, expect absolute working time from people (and only allow them hours off to sleep, and only because it's a human requirement that people do so) and give absolutely nothing back, then I would have joined one of the armed forces...

...Except they actually give you a lot more respect back if you try and do a good job for them (even if after giving your all, you don't quite get there, your senior officer can at least see you've made the best effort and treats you accordingly). Games companies like EA do not. They simply treat you like a disposable tool and throw you away when they've used up your energies, then simply get a fresh replacement that they then run into the ground in the same way.

About the only thing they don't do is shout, but that's not exactly compensation!

Plus, it's already been mentioned (and proven by testing) that you do far better quality of work (and in this case quantity too, since there's less mistakes and less having to re-write code or re-design graphics) if you're properly rested, and that DOES mean getting out of the office, letting your hair down, spending time with the family (or having fun), and having the entire weekend (or at the very least, a full day and a half) away from it all, because you then come back to the office fresh, and for those that enjoy the work, coming back to the office fresh also means that they have a lot more inspiration (should they need it) and are willing to go yards to do a good job, something that's simply impossible when you're running on empty.

Put simply that last paragraph is my response to people that reply saying that if you can't do 90 hours a week you should go work in McDonalds or something (not that there have been many on CGTalk, but that kind of trash is mentioned a lot on LiveJournal).

Kion
02-23-2005, 09:37 AM
Game studios are just like any other comapany (fx house) there are good ones to work for and there and bad ones. Ea screwed up big time and they will pay, my advice to anyone working anywhere GET PAID FOR YOUR WORK! I work in the games industry and have many friends that do also, its not like that everywhere, I like where i work are so do many other ppl so please stop with the " The videogame industry is the worst" stuff.



K?

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