The Paris Court of Appeals has reverted a ruling from July 2018 in the case opposing Quantic Dream and a former employee reportedly targeted by degrading images.
Quantic Dream appealed a court's decision from July 2018, which ruled in favour of the former employee. They had left the company due to an alleged toxic workplace culture, which was then recognised as an unfair dismissal by the court.
This followed articles published in the French press, exposing alleged homophobia, racism and sexism at Quantic Dream, with inappropriate photoshopped images being circulated around the studio of staff members superimposed into sexual scenes or dressed as Nazis.
The Court of Appeals has now ruled that none of the photoshopped images involving this specific plaintiff were degrading, homophobic or racist. Only one photomontage implicated the plaintiff and the court added that the employee knew about it as soon as it was shared in 2015, as he was among the recipients of the email. The plaintiff had previously argued that he learnt about the image when the press published it.
The plaintiff also didn't complain about the image until another member of staff reported it, with the court arguing that their delayed response showed a "tacit acceptance" of the content of the messages received.
The court ended up ruling that there was no link between the publication of degrading images involving members of staff and the reason why the plaintiff in question left the company.
The plaintiff will have to pay a total of €10,138 to Quantic Dream in compensation.
Following the decision of the Court of Appeals, Quantic Dream published a long statement on its website, welcoming the ruling and highlighting the "absence of a 'toxic atmosphere' or any kind of discrimination in the studio."
The company pointed to internal surveys which it says reveal a "strong attachment of employees to their company, its projects, and its values," as well as three independent media investigations from 2020 leading to "findings in total contradiction with the allegations contained in the articles published in January 2018."
"These objective, factual and verifiable elements, confirmed by the competent judicial or administrative institutions, show indisputably that the allegations contained in these articles were untrue and likely to damage the studio's honor and reputation," the statement read. "Quantic Dream has chosen to make these elements public today in order to set the record straight.
"Quantic Dream reaffirms once again the values that the studio has always defended in its games and within the company, which are values of humanism, inclusiveness, and the right for individuals to express themselves uniquely. We will continue to defend them with the same passion and determination as always. Quantic Dream remains firmly committed to continuing to work with its employees to create a serene work environment conducive to the professional and personal development and fulfillment of everyone."
In another case related to the photoshopped images, the tribunal found Quantic Dream guilty of having breached the security obligation it has towards its employees.