The Paris appeals court ruled in favor of a former Quantic Dream employee who falsely claimed to be fired from the company in 2017 after reporting that inappropriate Photoshopped images of employees had been circulated within Quantic Dream. Quantic Dream had initially fired the employee for gross misconduct, but later reclassified it as being fired for serious reasons during a trial in 2018. Quantic Dream lost that lawsuit and the ex-employee in question filed for unfair dismissal.
Thanks to the work of the French union Solidaires Informatique – which has previously provided legal support to employees who face discrimination at Ubisoft – the former Quantic Dream employee won the unfair dismissal case on October 6, 2021. The case describes a pretty harrowing story of abuse and sexual harassment at Quantic Dream, which first came to light in January 2018. Sources describe how studio founder David Cage demanded long hours from employees, as did his history of homophobic and racist comments. Founders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière recently personally won a libel suit against a French publication for reporting it, but the two cases filed under Quantic Dream were both unsuccessful.
In the case of misconduct in question, an employee representative circulated degrading images of employees within the company, which eventually leaked. One example was an image of an employee with the caption “All women are born equal, but the best become accountants”, but with the word “accountants” crossed out and replaced with “whore”. That same employee representative later told the ex-employee to sign a form stating that the “work of art” did not offend her, which she declined.
A few weeks later, the employee was called up for an evaluation. The employee representative accused her of aggressive behavior and workplace errors, most notably scanning documents related to the resignation of Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière. However, the court dismissed the allegations, claiming that the ex-employee’s actions were justified, as they were a management assistant, whose job is to – surprise, surprise – copy paperwork and accounting information.
The ex-employee said the following about the ruling:
After years of litigation, complaints, legal intimidation, finally a decision that puts the facts right. I am relieved and proud to have stood up to an attitude that could be described as disloyal, dishonest and intimidating. No one is above the law. Good luck and rest your conscience. Everything is better here. Yours sincerely.
The video game industry continues to experience a strong movement of workers’ rights as employees of various companies fight back against discrimination and harassment.
[Source: Solidaires Informatique]