Blizzard Entertainment has undoubtedly been through some murky waters regarding controversies. The studio has dealt with a lot of criticism over fusses in the gaming industry. The advent of the plague, COVID-19, meant a bundle of trouble for all businesses, including game studios. Likewise, Blizzard Entertainment blundered to keep doors open for every employee out there. Blizzard Versailles staff was dismissed amid the plague after the studio’s closure. All the staff was laid off, and since then, legal battles have been pursued to decide the fate of said employees.
Staff that was made redundant have secured somewhat of a victory in the legal battle. As deeply investigated by the French outlet, Gamekult, an appeal court has invalidated the layoffs that led to the closure of the Blizzard Versailles branch in 2020. Those aspiring for further legal actions will now potentially be privileged to “further compensations, equivalent to a minimum of six months of salary.”
Although this triumph brings glad tidings to the employees, it is not all rainbows and sunshine. The result of legal battles does not secure their positions to be reinstated in different Blizzard studios. Former employees have no office to lay their back against since the Blizzard Versailles branch closed its doors.
The lawyer, Mehdi Bouzaida, overseeing the legal battle, also commented on the situation to Gamekult. “That’s the hypocrisy of this law voted in 2013: you can discipline the administration, and behind it the company, for not handling things properly, but instead of drawing the necessary consequences and prevent the reorganization – and in this case the closure – things can just follow their course in the meantime,” he cited.
He continued, “What this means in concrete terms is that, as soon as the administration validated the [redundancy] plan, the company sent the dismissal letters in the following days. In other words, people get dismissed, and a few months later, a decision like the one we have today is reached, but the law at that moment won’t force the company to reintegrate the former employees, so only compensations are planned.”
Furthermore, Gamekult has contacted Activision Blizzard’s European leadership, but the goliath declined to comment on the situation. This crisis is not something unknown to Blizzard and its employees alike. The layoffs have been a hot talk for a couple of years now. A comparable appeal was pushed against an initial phase of layoffs in 2019. The 2020 redundancies witnessed coalitions representing the Versailles workers call for a strike, defining Blizzard’s reasoning as “absurd.”
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