Laid-Off Blizzard Workers Win Appeal To Pursue Six Months Back Salary
A French court has ruled that former employees of Blizzard’s Versailles office were unjustly terminated following a successful appeal. This now gives former employees the right to seek additional payments for up to six months' salary.
The news comes courtesy of French gaming publication Gamekult, which has been reporting on the Blizzard Versailles ever since the studio announced its closure in late 2020. French law prohibits companies from simply issuing layoffs without first proving to regulators that the layoffs are necessary for the future survival of the company–typically only in the direst of financial situations. This involves submitting a Job Protection Plan or PSE (Plan de Sauvegarde de l'Emploi) proving that the situation is indeed dire and also proving that the company did the best it could to save as many jobs as possible.
A PSE submitted in 2019 allowed Activision Blizzard to lay off 134 employees, while 2020’s PSE was initially approved and allowed the Call of Duty publisher to terminate the remaining 264 employees and proceed with the closure of Blizzard Versailles. Many of those terminated employees appealed the 2020 PSE, arguing Activision Blizzard failed to prove financial hardship and also failed to find alternate employment for the terminated employees.
Today, those former Versailles employees have won their appeal, entitling them to an additional six months' salary. However, as noted (and translated) by GamesIndustry.biz, this ruling doesn’t restore Blizzard Versailles, nor does it force Activision Blizzard to rehire laid-off employees.
"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," said Mehdi Bouzaida, who represented the former Blizzard employees. "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."
It should also be noted that only employees who choose to pursue further legal action can receive the additional six months' salary. Activision Blizzard shareholders, meanwhile, recently approved Microsoft's takeover offer of nearly $70 billion.
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