Back in August, Dragon Age and Mass Effect developer BioWare laid off 50 employees amidst a company restructure. Now, seven of those former BioWare employees are suing the company, stating that the severance offered to them wasn’t fair. The lawsuit also claims punitive damages for “unreasonably poor treatment by BioWare.”
As reported by IGN, seven former BioWare employees have filed a Statement of Claim with Alberta’s Court of King’s Bench, claiming that they were fired without cause. In the cases of termination without cause in the Alberta Courts, former employees at a company have been granted one month several pay per years of service including the full value of benefits. The terminated employees at BioWare claim that they were offered “significantly less than this amount”, despite efforts to negotiate with the company. The ex-employees suing BioWare have an average of 14 years of working at the studio.
One statement from a former developer claimed that BioWare’s NDA completely prevented them from listing Dragon Age: Dreadwolf on their portfolios, making it difficult to find work close to the holiday season:
“In light of the numerous recent industry layoffs and the fact that BioWare’s NDAs prevent us from showing any of our recent work on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf in our portfolios, we are very concerned about the difficulty many of us will have finding work as the holiday season approaches.”
The former employees are being represented by R. Alex Kennedy, a lawyer with Worobec Law Offices, who stated:
“BioWare attempted to reduce its obligation to these employees well below what the courts typically award, including by eliminating benefits from its termination pay – that appears to be contrary to the Employment Standards Code.”
Mass layoffs have become an issue in the gaming industry as this year alone, we’ve seen several studios including The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, Worms publisher Team17 and Fortnite company Epic Games terminate employees. Earlier this year, Microsoft cut approximately 10,000 jobs which impacted Xbox, Bethesda and Halo developer 343 Industries, among others.