VU Games slapped with lawsuit

Knowledge Adventure programmer steps forward, accuses VUG of violating California labor laws.

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Since at least June of 2000, Vivendi Universal managers have demanded that programmers make false entries to their time sheets, obfuscate their real hours on the job, and leave no trace of time spent working on weekends. The result: A ton of cash bound for the pockets of hard-working programmers stayed in the Vivendi Universal Games coffers.

That, at least, is what current Knowledge Adventure employee Neil Aitken has stated in legal documents filed Monday with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The complaint, Neil Aitken vs. Vivendi Universal Games, is seeking those back wages. In addition, the complaint seeks to establish a class action that will allow all deserving VU Games employees to "recover overtime wages and civil penalties" owed them. The complaint asks the court for a jury trial to hear arguments.

Aitken's attorney, Allen Graves, says the law is clear on the subject of overtime due to full-time employees classified as computer programmers. Graves said that if an employee makes less than the equivalent of $44.63 an hour, all hours worked over 40 per week are to be paid at a rate equal to 150 percent the usual wage. The complaint says that since at least 2000, VU has failed to pay overtime to all programmers who qualified for it.

More damning, however, are the alleged tactics taken by VU Games management. The complaint states that VU management "instructed" programmers to make false entries to their weekday time sheets and, furthermore, to falsify records that documented weekend hours worked.

Graves said that employees deserving of overtime "have since 2000, on a number of occasions, approached the company and asked for overtime." He explained that "the answer was some form of no, you're not going to get overtime." Graves says he has yet to hear from VU Games' counsel but is prepared once he does. "Many employees tracked their hours," Graves said today.

When contacted today, VU Games staff declined to comment, saying it was company policy not to comment on pending litgation.

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