Dynasty Loop staff reportedly owed $2m in missed payments
Around 20 workers say they are also locked out of Montreal studio but have been told they are not laid off
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Montreal-based indie Dynasty Loop has been accused by staff of missing months of paychecks, with uncertainty around whether the affected workers are still employed.
Polygon reports the studio owes around 20 workers and external contractors more than $2 million in missed payments, including bonuses and expenses, according to multiple people affected by the situation.
The site's sources also report they were asked to return their work equipment and have been denied access to the company office space.
Dynasty Loop has reportedly told workers they have not been laid off, but there is no indication of when they can expect repayment or additional work to do.
The studio was founded in 2020 and is led by CEO Rania Oueslati. It is working on a mixture of unannounced video games and NFT projects.
The payment issues began to arise late last year when Oueslati and management told staff that November payments would be delayed while the company changed its financial software.
Most employees were then not paid until January, and had to rely on savings to get through the holiday period. According to Polygon's sources, no one has been paid since.
Management told staff in late February that they needed to return all equipment to the office, but said this was not a layoff.
Staff were later told that the company's funds had been flagged by the Canadian government and frozen indefinitely, with management claiming the reason was connected to Oueslati's immigration status.
Also in late February, management proposed a 'lien agreement' between Oueslati and staff that promised staff who signed would get paid when the funds were available - but that staff would wait up to six months before taking legal actions or filing complaints with Montreal's Commission on Workplace Standards, Fairness, Heath and Safety.
Staff were given two days to sign the agreement, but on March 7 it emerged that the lien agreement would not be registered and all those who signed were released from the deal.
Oueslati is reportedly no longer speaking directly to staff, instead referring them to her lawyer.
When Polygon reached out to Oueslati for comment, the publication was also directed to the lawyer, who has yet to respond.