GameStop facing employee lawsuits

Store managers say they didn't actually manage anything and should have been eligible for overtime pay.

by

It's no secret that the people who make games often put in time above and beyond the 40-hour work week. Publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision have faced employee lawsuits over the matter, and now the people who sell games are going to court over their own overtime issues.

According to court records, specialty retailer GameStop is facing a collective-action lawsuit brought against it in Louisiana by a half-dozen of its store managers. In April, the six alleged that they were wrongfully declared exempt from overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and were required to work "in many occasions, in excess of 50 or 60 hours per week."

While the FLSA does state that those "employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity" are exempt from its overtime regulations, the store managers contend that they had no such authority.

According to the suit, "All store managers are required to follow, in precise detail, the store operations manual which dictates the procedure for operation of the retail establishment. ... The job of store manager requires virtually no actual management of employees or exercise of discretionary function."

For example, the plaintiffs say GameStop decided how much to pay the store staff, made all pricing decisions, decided what (and how much) to stock, where items would be placed on shelves, and how they would be promoted. The suit also says store managers couldn't even hire or fire their own employees, that power being reserved for district managers.

The plaintiffs say GameStop willfully violated the FLSA in their cases, as well as in those of US store managers across the company. They have asked the court to let all those who have been similarly wronged by GameStop since April of 2003 opt into the collective-action lawsuit. They are seeking damages with interest to compensate them for unpaid overtime and an award of their attorneys' fees.

GameStop has responded to the suit by asking the judge to throw the case out because of its similarity to a 2004 lawsuit about unpaid overtime, which is still pending. That case, brought against the company in New York by an assistant store manager, was filed on behalf of all Electronics Boutique employees since 1998 who were denied minimum wages or overtime pay. That legal proceeding began before Electronics Boutique merged with GameStop last year.

While the New York suit's claims of employees wrongfully declared exempt from overtime pay are similar, it goes into greater detail on the company's practices. The suit says Electronics Boutique didn't pay for opening or closing the store, didn't provide or pay for a meal break, and instructed the falsification of payroll records to avoid giving anyone overtime. It also alleges violations of New York's own labor laws.

In May, the parties involved in the New York suit told the court they were in the preliminary stages of negotiating a settlement. The judge in the Louisiana suit has not yet ruled on GameStop's request to have the case thrown out, postponed, or moved to New York so the same court can host both suits.

Discussion

140 comments
blitz97
blitz97

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

silby91
silby91

ya, i work at gamestop, and all of that is actually true. it doesn't affect me too much because i'm not a manager, but that stuff is still definitaly true. it is still not to say that it is a sweet job. the benifits are kick ass.

wiifan001
wiifan001

I would like to work at Gamestop:) I wouldn't let this report stop me from not wanting to work there (temporarily of course)

ltmustbebunnies
ltmustbebunnies

So, I've been scrolling down reading some comments, and although this article is over a year old, I have something to say in response to "GameStop treats its customers worse than their employees." 1. I have been a GameStop employee for over a year, and helping customers is the only things I enjoy about the job. 2. When an employee says to you, "I'm sorry, I can't do that for you" they really mean it, because GameStop doesn't give any freedom to its employees regarding returns in special cases or discounts. 3. If you encounter a nasty employee, its probably because they're in a management position that pays $9 an hour, like me. In NJ, Asssistant Store managers get $11, and Store managers get roughly $15. Before the merge, when minimum wage was almost three dollars lower than it is today, EB Assistants were getting $15, and Store Managers were getting even more than that. Associates five years ago made $7.75 an hour, more than GameStop pays its associates today. 4. My Store Manager worked 50 hours last week, and was not paid overtime. 5. That happens every week. And 6. EB went under because it did not know how to run a business efficiently. GameStop will go under because of the way they treat their employees.

jillwarrior
jillwarrior

WELL SINCE I MUST REPOST let me say again that it is in everyones interest to avoid this terrible and dishonest company. go shop at your locally owned and operated video game stores and not at a chain who dosent care about you, your hometown or the industry. this company is bad news for gamers, game makers and suppliers. and for the employed hack who looked down upon the "mom and pop" stores i dare you to put your lies to this thread again. i will smack them down and call you on it

cutelilmurderer
cutelilmurderer

I really think no job which requires you any amount of time should deny you overtime, regardless of what kind of work it is. The point is you are getting paid so shut the hell up and give these people their overtime that is due.

lordoverallbaby
lordoverallbaby

WELL SINCE I MUST REPOST let me say again that it is in everyones interest to avoid this terrible and dishonest company. go shop at your locally owned and operated video game stores and not at a chain who dosent care about you, your hometown or the industry. this company is bad news for gamers, game makers and suppliers. and for the employed hack who looked down upon the "mom and pop" stores i dare you to put your lies to this thread again. i will smack them down and call you on it

lordoverallbaby
lordoverallbaby

interesting, it appears we have offended the gamespot censors somehow and they deleted some of my smackdowns

darksaber91
darksaber91

I have a newfound respect for those GS and EB managers that I once thought had cool jobs! (drives over to best buy and applies for a job)

ishcabible6000
ishcabible6000

EB here in Canada is pretty good. I go there whenever I want to buy because, frankly, there's no other stores to buy in WInnipeg. Sure, there's Wal-Mart, etc. but EB has the selection, pre-owned, etc.

bizsumpark182
bizsumpark182

I would have to agree with this. I used to work there, quit last month and went to Best Buy, and although I loved working there....the company as a whole sucks. They don't know how to run a company. And they don't know how to advertise in the stores....and they also don't play there employees crap. When I my store manager tried to ask about raising our pay in my state they told him this, "people who come to GS don't do so for the pay. they do so because it is a privilidge (sp)." What a load of crap. I hope this goes through...after all GS slave labor deserves to be paid.

TheKokopelli
TheKokopelli

Ironic this is out. I interviewed for an assistant manager's position last August when I sort of somewhat lost my tech support job. I figured, EB's cool, I like games, and it's management experience. I didn't get it, but I didn't lose much sleep over it. I was pretty annoyed when they stopped their PC game trade ins, but would go for a few games. I stopped going altogether when I would call for the status of a game, and they were clueless. Yet, I could go across the street to BestBuy or CompUSA and they had several copies in stock. Needless to say, gogamer, and the other chains get my business now. Pretty sad too, I was a faithful customer of EB going on 10-years now. Went to the location so often, that the manager knew my 3-year and I be name. Funny how fate works things out... me not getting the job, but I ended up with a very good company. Hope the best for the manager's filing the suit. Getting jerked over on pay that you lawfully earned is unacceptable.

overachiever92
overachiever92

No wonder the Gamespot employees are so nasty to me!

msalz1
msalz1

It's funny ever since GameStop bought EB it has been getting worse. Lower trade prices and the stores look horrible. I think it was a better company before they bought EB. Maybe EB games turned a pretty good company into a crappy one. Which is ass backwards because GS bought them...but whatever. As for the managers...they don't make nearly make enough to do all the stuff they have to deal with...including the occasional dumb customer.

jgardner104
jgardner104

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lordoverallbaby
lordoverallbaby

i still cannot understand why anyone would go into a eb/gameslut . not one person has given me a good reason for shopping in one. Where i am the is a chain called Video Games ETC! that gives double in credit over eb/gamestop!!!! They have ran 3 EB stores out of town before the merger and now theres a store back in town that has been running at a loss for over 2 years. i am sure that eb hopes they can pull a walmart and run stores, like this locally owned company, out of business. its funny, the mall that the eb is in even barred the store from doing any midnite sales so now all eb customers have to drive across town to pick up their copys from gamestop for any midnite sales!!! now thats funny!!!

spudmunkey
spudmunkey

I agree with this completely. When I started at Eb before the merger , I started at about 31K a year, some of our local GS store managers made around the same as you were(25-27K), and they had to kill themselves everyday, and never were rewarded. Hence the reason I stayed at GS for almost 8 1/2 years, never in a management capacity until an opening in management popped up at EB. I really wish EB and Gamestop never merged, I used to like my job, my staff, my store, but after the merger, well, what can you do but fall in line, or be pushed out ?....

Gawl2k9
Gawl2k9

I'm in total agreement with this. I worked for Game Stop for six years and I finally had to leave because I couldn't stand it anymore. Not only would I have to work more than 40+ hours a week, I also saw all my manager duties stripped away from me year after year. We used to be able to manage our pay roll according to how much money we made and then they switched us to template scheduling. Funny thing is they started the templates the week of the Halo 2 launch. I must say that if we had the old template I could have had 300+ hours instead of around 100-120. I poured my heart and soul into my store to make it the best store possible I mean I was the lowest shrink store two years in a row and got a piece of paper for it, but managers that lost thousands and got tons of reserves and subscriptions got around a $2000 dollar bonus. I have never known a company more out of touch with its consumer as well as its employee base. Oh and Mr.Squibble to answer your question Game Stop basically incourages turn over because if they keep managers for too long then they have to keep giving raises. I worked in a district as a Store Manager for 3 1/2 years and at the end I was the only manager that made it past a year. Funny thing is although I don't know exact numbers I know that I made less than some of those jackasses that got fired because I was an acting manager and young so I just took what I got paid at face value because it was more than I had been getting paid but not worth the trouble. It was around $25k a year. (Barely middle class pay at best.)

Hyporlynx
Hyporlynx

There's definately truth to this. I need to find out how to join this suit. GameStop has increasingly grown worse over time and I've grown to hate the company with a passion. I can't remember the last time I woked under 50 hours in a week. There is entirely too much micromanagement. In no form do I run that store. I am just there to see that what they say to do gets done. When is the last time anyone walked into GS or EB that wasn't packed with a line of customers and saw more than 1 or 2 employees there?

lordoverallbaby
lordoverallbaby

jared81799 you nailed it on the head with your remarks about FallenOneX, his comments are either based on some kind of grade school knowledge of retail or he is a slobbering eb/gameslut lackey. You can make a difference and effect and change on business.

jared81799
jared81799

fallenoneX - you are the most un-informed lackey in retail.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

While I do love all of the enthusiasm, the mere suggestion of boycotting these stores is a fantasy. No retail outlet is perfect. Any store you name, I can show you how they screw either the customer and/or their employees. Try and buy online and the postal service joins in. What we can do is limit or purchases from more flagrant offenders. Unless a certain game or system has a preorder bonus, don't preorder. I know it sounds stupid, but I work retail. Forget about the # of people that lay down a few bucks to reserve a game and forget about it. (a few stores cancel the reservation after 1 phone call and 3 months. Your info is destroyed, the money profit.) In the end, you're still going to buy the game, and it's not like these stores won't stock it. When people would preorder from our store and pay it off sameday, we knew we had to subtract that sale from the 50 (+ or -) we knew we would be getting usually two weeks before a game launched. (Systems are more a luck of the draw game. I don't recommend playing.) All I'm saying is make'em sweat a little. Walmart and Target are now selling most of the same collectors editions of games as EB and Gamestop. Or just stop making these places your first stop for games. We can't totally get rid of bad business, but we can make them change their practices.

lordoverallbaby
lordoverallbaby

see what gets me are all of you posters like KingBobCat who STILL GO BACK!!!!! I have a tip for you: vote with your dollars and stop going!!!! are you folks so stupid as to keep going back over and over knowing how a company treats not only its employees but you fools its customers? be more like jameston80 and controllerface. people who have the balls to fight for themselves.

lordoverallbaby
lordoverallbaby

what a surprise...................NOT! this company is as bad as walmart and treats its customers worse than its employees. FACT: Gamespot dosen't even keep its deposits from a days sales in that town, rather when a deposit is made the money is transfered to the the headquarters and the bank located in that town. So your hometown bank dosen't even benefit from the interest on the deposit or retain any of the money. This is a pratice Walmart has perfected. Why folks still go to this companys stores is beyond me but i hope the drooling masses wise up and stop buying at these hellholes as they did eventually with funcoland.

GAMECAMILLER
GAMECAMILLER

Both Eb Games and Gamespot need to look at how they treat their employee's and change their ways. Note this isn't how all stores are, this isn't the case for every store, but it is the case for a lot of them.

controllerface
controllerface

My girlfriend and I both worked at EB/Gamestop, I as a manger and she as an associate. We both hated it, and I just recently quit to work in the food service industry (yes, it's actually better than gamestop, by FAR) and we had some shirts made up we've been selling. Check us out at www.pushb.com and click the link at the bottom of the page that says "why should the game stop when you can push b" they do feature the f-word, so kids beware. we've just started selling them, and we've got a limited stock, but anyone who's interested, check us out.

mr_squibble
mr_squibble

Unfortunately, Gamestop is one of the few retailers that regularly get games from lower-volume publishers like Atlus, so I may have to still go there at least a little bit. It's really unfair how Gamestop treats its employees, but you sign a contract for an amount of salary pay. If the amount of hours you work becomes much greater than your what your pay is worth, it's time to seek another job. The best time to look for a job is when you already have one (but finding the time to do so can be tough when you're working 60-70 hours per week). No one should have to put in a 70 hour work week w/o compensation. I hate feeling powerless, and from that end I feel for all you Gamestop employees. I understand there can be regional differences, but approximately what salary does a Gamestop manager get paid? I'm just curious. There are a few awesome local video game shops in Madison, WI. I'd much rather go there. They even have stuff older than PS2 on the used rack, and gems abound for those willing to dig.

jameston80
jameston80

I had heard this all along from many Managers working there, but here is where the problem can be solved, gamestop is everywhere, stop buying and trading from them. I own my own store and I give way better deals on trade ins than gamestop, for instance I had a woman and her kids come in one time with 4 gba games, gamestop offered her 4 bucks trade, guess what she got at my store? 12 bucks, thats 3 times better than what they offered. But yet, you people still go there, STOP buying and trading with them.

jimbo6923
jimbo6923

OMFG! It's the truth! I've worked at Gamestop/Eb Games since 2002.... they treat their employees like garbage This is only one of the many ways this company screws their employees. Here's a "circle of life" for ya' you rise, then you fall. (all Gamestop employees should understand the "circle of life" reference... )

capthunt
capthunt

WTF is up with the game industry these days with companies not giving employees their money. hate corporate america, so GOD**M greedy.

tpool01eb
tpool01eb

EB Games was sold to Gamestop because the founder, Mr. Kim, was the majority shareholder and ended up with $400 million from the merger when EB stock was bought by Gamestop at around $65 per share. In early 2002 EB stock was trading at $15 to $20 per share. Mr. Kim came to one Manger's Conference in Orlando or Las Vegas and then a year later, sold the company. I half expected EB to purchase Gamestop because EB was growing internationally and nationally and the company was looking at quite a growth phase. That was without the knowledge of how much of the company Mr. Kim owned. Any manager who had been involved in the employee stock purchase plan over the years and also had vested shares available from the manager's option incentive program would have made out relatively well. Funny thing is, Mr. Kim's real business is in semi-conductors worth billions so this gaming world was just a side business for him. His wife started a kiosk over 25 years ago selling digital watches and they moved into games. Didn't you ever wonder why it was Electronics Boutique until the last few years. Eventually the management at EB figured out the better brand name of EB Games. I don't know how many people came into their stores asking for printer cartridges. My advice, start your own kiosk and then sell it for $400 million in 25 years.

InfernalStorm
InfernalStorm

Hah! This is merely the tip of the iceberg. As a former employee of over four years, I can attest firsthand that this company is involved in at least a scam or two that this article doesn't even begin to touch on. Quite frankly, I'm astonished it took this long for the salary issues to come into the public domain.

KingBobCat
KingBobCat

I've been buying games from EB for 15 years + and over those years, I've gotten to know all of the managers quite well. Guess what? They ALL complained about working there, being shafted on salary, not getting proper resources to run their stores an so on .... now it sounds even worse. Not the kind of business you want to hang around and build a career in ... :)

gamer_10001
gamer_10001

Knight_Rider_3K, they look miserble because have the time they don't know anything about games, and get bombarded by game questions from casual gamers every day. So yes, I agree, we should pity them.

rlroofy
rlroofy

game stop sucks in puerto rico always have their games more expensive than others ( like sears) they said is because of the shipping and handling charges, what's going on, sears sale their games at 49.99, but game stop sell them at 52.99 and sometimes at 54.99, and they have their employees like pupets here, the are telling you what to bring before you get to the door of the store, did you brind games to trade, movies, your mother...... also i preorder the 360, then on launch day no 360, employees have their right but managers are exempt , so good luck to the employees.

malkav11
malkav11

Hmm. While it certainly sucks to hear the mishandling Gamestop employees have to go through, where else am I supposed to go for local game shopping? Wal-mart is far more evil, with crappier selection and employees who are guaranteed to know little to nothing about the subject. Circuit City and Best Buy and Target have terrible selections. Gamecrazy is weirdly laid out and has, in my experience, a frequently inferior selection and some very strange pricing. I'd go there occasionally to scan for hidden gems, but not regularly shop there, especially as they don't stock PC games. I used to be able to hit up a nearby local retailer, but they moved. Frankly, right now Gamestop is my only option for dedicated game retail on all major platforms. I don't like some of their policies, but their only real competition is online and that's no substitute sometimes.

Mit_Man
Mit_Man

I still believe GameStop did better than EB back in the day sales wise. Yes because they rip off their employees, and also, as far as I see in my area, GameStop stores faaar outnumber EB stores, and I think it's that way nationwide. Also, what is with all the "trade-in special *nudge nudge*" cracks? Last trade in special I remember, is an extra $10 in credit for trading in 3 non-old sports games. Which means, you can trade in 3 $2 games and get an extra 10, more than what you got for all three without it, that was a great deal, and people with huge piles of games would be getting over $100 extra dollars from it. I'm guessing what you are all meaning though is us buying stuff back for low prices. Well to start, we rarely buy something off you for more than half what we sell it, that's how a business goes. Then, it's supply and demand. We don't want your old game that everyone has traded in before, and that we probably aren't going to sell much of in the future. Therefore, we give you less incentive to trade it in. If you want to sell your stuff for a bit less than it's retail price, go sell it on eBay. Bah, but I really would just like for GameStop to be investigated, and put under watch of the law to abide by all labor laws. Oh how the employees would rejoice.

Fiveshooter
Fiveshooter

I think GameStop sucks. I have stopped shopping there after being one of the first few to preorder the 360 at a couple of stores. One at an EB Games and one at a Gamestop. (Same Folks) Both were paid cash in full months before launch day. Both store managers promised that I would have one at launch day. It took a several weeks to get them after launch day. I was "next in line" for a couple of months at both stores. When I called upper management I was told that the stores were getting 2 per week since launch day. If I was "next in line" where did the 2 per week go? My guess is out the back door. I used to spend a lot of money there but they have gotten the last penny from me. This is one POS company that I would love to see go belly up. My oppinion that the company is ran by people who have no problem lying to thier customers. SCREW them, I hope they choke!!! I was actually able to walk into a local Target store and pick one up off the shelf before either preorder was delivered to me.

Knight_Rider_3K
Knight_Rider_3K

I feel bad for the employees. Everytime I'm in the store they look miserable.

beestung
beestung

The reason Gamestop was able to buy EB is because Gamestop is the cheapest company on earth and EB spent money like crazy so Gamestop was extremely more profitable. Gamestop isn't owned by Barnes and Noble. B+N owns a minority percentage of Gamestop stock. They used to have a controlling share but a large portion of that was purchased back by Gamestop last year. Eventually they will be completely independent. FWIW I'm a Gamestop manager who is leaving the company for pretty much this exact reason. Store Managers are held responsible for all sorts of crap that we have no control over and the company is so cheap that they give us way less payroll hours than we need just to run our stores. Good managers who have been with the company for years are leaving all over the place and morale in the company is at zero. It's a shame because up until the merger it wasn't a bad company to work for.

Kfoss
Kfoss

im from North Central Texas..the land of the enemy ive gotten some good deals from both stores and the EB games that opened here was awesome and still is awesome even after the hellish merger. but as for gamestops around here in general staff wise there OK...although im really sick of being asked to sign up for mag's and and warn's, drives me nuts, but this idea of store manages not being in control is true not just with GS but with all major chain stores, call it wallmart syndrome, every store is suppose to be an exact replecia of every other store...but yea i say stick it to em!..they made a what 7 billion last year..its about time they give some of it back...as for what i buy...i try to buy new as much as i can but sometimes its just a matter of cash flow....but these days people should by new..cause stuff is about $20 or so for X and Ps2...new and as for PC well id just go to compUSA or Fry's, actually Frys has a huge game slection...ill shut up now..LOL

spudmunkey
spudmunkey

And in regards to XAF1, I agree totally, which is why I shopped, probed, and asked employees about the job I now have, and the company is fantastic, employees are paid what they are worth, AND YOU GET PAID FOR OVER 40 HOURS! Woo Hoo!

Rahxon
Rahxon

Oh I hope something comes of this. After working for gamestop for 4 years and seeing how they conduct business, treat employees, and really swindle customers (you know those "trade-in specials" and whatnot...... yeah), they totally deserve something like this.

spudmunkey
spudmunkey

Oh and anyone working for the 2 Corporate giant still, I found this lil place for info: http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/case/overtime_homepage http://www.lawcash.com/attorney/3951/gamestop-lawsuit.asp On a sidenote, EB Games employees were for the most part paid waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than Gamestop employees, management especially, so if ever there was a reason to fire an EB employee, and replace with a Gamestop one, or promote one, that seems like to big of a coincidence to not look at.

XAF1
XAF1

Guys a great deal of people in retail go through this same thing and believe me it is not pretty. I have worked in retail for over 12 years and spent some of that time in management. A great deal of the time employees have no idea what their rights are, that includes the managers. Being an excellent manager isn't easy by any means. When I began as a manager we each had 6 day weeks 14 hour days and I was salaried. It wasn't something I wanted but I did it to help out a friend at another one of our stores. Most Managers don't get treated well in retail. The fact is a great deal of companies are out to make a buck even at the expense of their employees. Most of the time floor displays and planograms in stores make no sense because some big wig upstairs has no idea of what good merchandising is or how much product a shelf will hold or how much to ship in preparation for big sells. They use one store as a standard for the rest. Half of the time managers work on nearly no budget what so ever. The stores have quotas on certain items and make employees feel pressured. And as for the factor of most stores having to prepair for corporate visits my motto is "If you are doing your job on a regular basis don't worry." All most managers find themselves being is under paid baby sitters to the public for corporate America. The irony is most managers know their stores and customers better than their corporate heads. Also retail is an extremely high turn over rate industry from the corporate level to the bottom of the chain. I believe in educating my fellow employees about their rights and I believe in staying knowledgeable about it myself. My thought is that before taking a job listen to what the employees all have to say as you shop with a company and observe the customers. I hope that the managers who have the lawsuits hold in there and get treated justly by the judge. I truely feel that retail needs to change its practices in a great deal of areas other wise I think many will find it hard to consider it a true profession. I have always said that retail takes a special type of individual and I'm not sure if it's something I would choose if I had to a second time. It's having a good team and some wonderful customers that make it all worth doing.