The ongoing legal challenge against Activision Blizzard’s closure of their EU office has reached an important milestone today, as French courts ruled to invalidate the redundancies applied when the Versailles office was closed. While this won’t give anyone their job back – the office is long gone and any positions it left open filled – it entitled them to massive payments equivalent to a minimum of six months salary. As always, there’s a bit of a catch.
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, those who want their money will need to further pursue it at labor court. That’s a time-consuming and no-doubt expensive process. This is thanks to a law voted on in 2013 which lawyer for the case Mehdi Bouzaida called “hypocrisy” in an interview with French website Gamekult. It basically means that companies are free to continue on with the consequences of making people redundant – i.e., making it so their company doesn’t need them any more – while those redundancies are being contested. That’s exactly what happened here.
Having lived and worked there for three years, it is ludicrously difficult to fire people in France. Not impossible, but much harder than in the US or UK, for various reasons – needing to prove it, power of the employee to get back, and so on. In general, the laws in France vastly favor individuals over entities (probably because of, you know, the guillotines) when it comes to things like employment and housing. However, loopholes have worked their way in – for example, there’s no such thing as an apartment or flat inspection on a rented property in France, but actually renting a place takes endless forms and proof of income, insurance, etcetera.
Which is all to say, I’m completely unsurprised by this turn of events. France loves the worker and adores bureaucracy. Still, 6+ months salary is nothing to sniff at, so this is probably worth it for a few of the folks working there.
Written by Ben Barrett on behalf of GLHF.