Ex-Blizzard, Apple employee files a work complaint against Epic Games

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Former Activision Blizzard and Apple employee Cher Scarlett has filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Epic Games, accusing the “Fortnite” developer of refusing to hire her because of her advocacy and trade union support.

In the complaint, Scarlett makes several allegations, claiming that Epic refused to hire her because she supported a labor organization, works with the NLRB, and has protested the working conditions.

Epic Games spokeswoman Elka Looks confirmed that Scarlett did an interview with the company as one of two candidates for a position as a senior front-end web developer. She said the company was aware of Scarlett’s advocacy in the job market early in the job recruitment process and it did not affect the decision.

“This candidate’s resume and application included a link to their personal website. The website describes their organizing activity and this information has not taken into account our decision to continue with interviews, ”said Looks.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Scarlett claimed that she had completed four rounds of interviews with Epic between November and December 2021. According to emails shared with The Post, a recruitment coordinator at Epic on December 8, Scarlett sent an email with an attached Form “Request for activity” requesting the publication of “any effort you make outside of work that may overlap with your potential role at Epic.” In the email, the recruiter wrote that the company “wants to get a head start on this process.”

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Scarlett filled out the request for the activity form on December 8, saying she had advised Apple members on a labor movement called “Apple Together” and testified before the federal government for fair work practices, according to the form, which was provided to The Stolpe. Two days later, Epic told her that they decided to go with another candidate.

“We offered the position to someone else who scored higher in their interviews,” Looks said. “We received [Scarlett’s] The ‘Request for external activities’ form after we have already made a recruitment decision for the post and extended an offer to another. The shape did not matter in our decision. Candidates are asked to complete an external activity form during the recruitment process, and providing the form to a candidate is not a confirmation that an offer is forthcoming. “

At the time of publication, Epic Games had not received or reviewed the complaint. The NLRB office is currently investigating the work complaint and if it finds sufficient evidence, it will then issue a complaint against Epic.

Scarlett, who is now a senior software engineer at ControlZee and works on a game called “dot big bang,” told The Post that she “is still crushed by how naive [she] thought this company was on the side of the workers. “

“There’s no other explanation, other than the fact that I wrote it in writing … but I was trying to be honest, you know?” said Scarlett. “This was such a great match that I let go of other perspectives and now really have mistrust of the industry as a whole and feel that my voice along with the voices of the others in the workplace are seen as a responsibility rather than an important part of create good jobs. ”

Scarlett also has an NLRB indictment, filed on February 9, 2022 against Mozilla, and similarly accuses the technology company of “refusing to hire” her because of her advocacy business. She also has three open charges against Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of stopping attempts to collect payroll data, retaliating against workers and creating a hostile work environment that forced her to leave in November 2021. NLRB investigates Mozilla, Epic and Apple charges. Apple and Mozilla did not respond to requests for comment.

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“An employer violates the NLRA [National Labor Relations Act] if it discriminates against job seekers because of their union activities, ”said Cornell Professor of Labor and Employment Law Risa Lieberwitz. “The proof that the applicant has been through a round of interviews, but then the employer has hired someone else after gaining knowledge of the trade union activity, raises the question of whether the employer’s refusal to hire her was motivated by her trade union activity. But it will depend on all the evidence. “

Lieberwitz noted that Epic’s questions to applicants about their external activities “raise the question of whether the question was too broad in seeking information that could include applicants’ affiliation with work organizations.”

“The question of unfair work practices is whether such a question for applicants interferes with employees’ rights to engage in union activity or other work-related coordinated activity,” she said.

Scarlett has previously garnered media attention when she helped Apple workers come together to criticize the company and to share her story of being sexually harassed during her time at Activision Blizzard from August 2015 to 2016. She has compiled a Twitter followers of over 50,000, which she calls out of problems in the workplace, such as an alleged pay gap at Starbucks, where she has also worked. She mentioned the legal issues between Epic and Apple as an initial indication that Epic could have been a good place to work after she had to leave Apple.

“[Epic doesn’t] really want someone like me, Scarlett says. “Like, I basically whistled for Blizzard. I mean, even though it’s five years later, and then I whistled at Apple, too. It’s like what’s going to happen if there’s a problem?” Scarlett added that she first appeared on issues at both companies internally. “And you know, nothing ever came of it.”

NLRB has received a number of recent complaints regarding video game companies. Last week, Nintendo was accused of violating a worker’s legal right to form a union. The name of the worker was kept anonymous in the complaint. Nintendo replied that it was not aware of any attempt to organize itself and that the worker was fired for disclosing confidential information.

Last week, NLRB weighed in favor of employees at Raven Software, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, in a labor dispute with the employer.