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The Courts Government Businesses News Entertainment Games

EA Settles Employee Lawsuit 53

Posted by Zonk
from the one-down-a-few-hundred-to-go dept.
Vicissidude writes "EA has agreed to pay out $15.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by artists seeking overtime pay." From the aticle: "The employees charged that EA violated labor laws requiring it to pay overtime and were seeking past-due overtime pay and penalties. Under the settlement, about 200 entry-level artists will become hourly workers eligible for overtime pay and a one-time grant of restricted EA stock. Those employees would then be excluded from bonuses and stock option grants. No news on the lawsuit filed by EA programmers."
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EA Settles Employee Lawsuit

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  • by mindaktiviti (630001) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:35AM (#13729841)

    Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter said EA will get productivity gains from the changes and, if it needs to, will control costs by weeding out slower workers.

    He said the artists who are reclassified as hourly would likely get more supervision and be assigned work-related quotas, resulting in less job satisfaction.

    "Think of it more like a factory worker," he said. "The assembly line just sped up."

    Is this really a win for the artists? Are quotas a good thing for game development? If an artist is supposed to pump out x amount of textures or models or what not, then will they still be able to put out great games?

    I can see it now, an artist who's talents are probably at the higher end of the spectrum...but this is because he takes a bit more time on his work, thus giving managers the excuse to fire him at whim because he's not "performing up to standards."

  • by garcia (6573) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:02AM (#13730182)
    I can see it now, an artist who's talents are probably at the higher end of the spectrum...but this is because he takes a bit more time on his work, thus giving managers the excuse to fire him at whim because he's not "performing up to standards."

    Then he'll find a job elsewhere, have better working conditions, probably better pay, and in all liklihood a better self-worth which will cross into his personal life as well.

    If EA is really going to bounce a "higher end" talent because they aren't meeting draconian quotas, then they don't give a shit about game quality or employee quality and aren't worth working for anyway.
  • by Pulse_Instance (698417) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:36AM (#13730703)
    $13-$18/hr is what they make if they only work 40hr weeks. When you start working as much overtime as is required in the software industry the hourly wage starts to go down quite a bit.
  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@ g m> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:29PM (#13731443)
    Working for EA is the loss for these people, not the settlement.

    It's obvious they are working for a company that does not value the work done as much as it values the bottom line, when you work for a company like that your two options are typically put up or leave. Yes, you can try to force the company to create a better working environment, as this lawsuit attempted to do, however it's about as useful as sitting the school bully into a the group of his normal victims and telling everyone to get along.

    EA doesn't care, they figure they can find more cheap labor shoping themselves to the newly minted 'idiots' coming out of college that are still inexperienced enough to not realize that they are signing up for a death march rather than a trial by fire.

    And this will continue until EA has such a poor repuation overall in the industry that they will HAVE to pay top dollar for people to work for them, which will likely be a long, long time. The only way for these people to 'win' this is to leave EA for companies that don't think that employee's are disposable resources.
  • by Tankko (911999) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @03:22PM (#13733290)
    $15.6m is what the production costs are on a high end 'AAA' title (usually a bit less) in which would pay them back 100 times that.

    Yes, and god knows they make 100x on every title they do.

    Much like the movie and music business, most titles loose money, but the hits keep everything going. Who's to say if that $15M would have been spent on a hit or a non-hit.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown