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Epic Games faces labour complaint over allegedly refusing to hire union supporter

Complainant believes she was shunned for labour advocacy work, Epic claims this activity did not factor into decision

A labour complaint has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Fortnite maker Epic Games, accusing the firm of refusing to hire someone due to their efforts advocating for workers' rights.

The Washington Post reports the complaint was filed by a former Activision Blizzard and Apple employee, who applied for a job at Epic towards the end of 2021.

After four rounds of interviews, she was sent a Request for Outside Activity form that asked her to disclose "any efforts you take outside of work that may overlap with your potential role at Epic." In her response, she mentioned she had been advising members of the Apple Together labour movement, and testifying before the federal government regarding fair labour practices.

Two days later, Epic informed her it chose to give the role to another candidate. The applicant believes this was due to her advocacy work, telling the Post: "[I] now really distrust the industry at large and feel like my voice, along with the voices of the others in the workplace are seen as a liability, rather than an important part of making great workplaces."

The complainant has already filed similar charges with the NLRB against Mozilla, and has three open charges against Apple, including one for retaliation against workers and creating a hostile work environment which led her to leave the company back in November.

Last year, she shared her story of sexual harassment during her tenure at Activision Blizzard.

Epic Games spokesperson Elka Looks confirmed to the Post that the complainant did interview for a role at the firm, that the Request for Outside Activity form was received after a hiring decision had been made, and that her advocacy work was already known early on in the recruitment process.

"This candidate's resumé and application included a link to their personal website," Looks explained. "The website details their organising activity, and this information did not factor into our decision to proceed with interviews."

She added: "We offered the position to someone else who scored higher in their interviews... The form did not play any role in our decision."

The NLRB is currently investigating the complaint. If it finds sufficient evidence, it will then issue a formal complaint against Epic Games.

The board is already working on multiple cases regarding video games companies, including one against Nintendo for allegedly blocking attempts to unionise. Last week, it declared the group of Raven Software QA employees is eligible for a union election.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was