Nintendo of America criticizes the treatment of part-time and contract workers

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Earlier this week, it emerged that Nintendo of America and recruitment firm Aston Carter were named in a labor lawsuit; the complaint alleges actions such as “dismissal” from employment and “compulsory testimony.” Nintendo of America issued a response saying the worker in question was “a contractor previously terminated for disclosure of confidential information.”

Now, Kotaku has shared a detailed report in which it speaks to current and former Nintendo employees about working conditions, with a focus on part-time and contract workers.

Addressed employees cite a “two-tier” system in which contractors hired by outside agencies often work on 11-month contracts (and then two-month breaks) working without health and other employment benefits. For example, some testers are reportedly making as little as $16 an hour, less than the minimum wage in nearby Seattle (Nintendo of America is based in Redmond, Washington).

In terms of the workplace experience, both named and unnamed sources emphasize working ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with ‘red badges’ (full-time employees) but are otherwise kept ‘at a distance’. For example, while there are benefits such as using the staff cafe, it is not allowed to invite the family to visit the in-house museum.

Jelena Džamonja, an employee with over five years on the “temp work cycle,” spoke of slipping and headbutting on the way to work. After experiencing potential concussion symptoms in the office, they were turned away from the local clinic due to their employment status, and a full-time colleague was not allowed to drive them to a clinic; finally an Uber was called. “They want to control you like you’re a full-time employee, but not treat you like a full-time worker,” Džamonja told Kotaku.

Other sources suggest that full-time contracts are being held “on a stick” to encourage contractors to work under poor conditions; in some cases, many years of work have not resulted in full-time employment. Even a full-time salary is described as “not great by industry standards”, with the lure of working at Nintendo and the many eager potential applicants supposed to make up for it.

Respondents also say that discussing their working conditions (even during internal meetings) “could lead to consequences,” including reprimands from their recruiters or the early termination of their contract.

The report paints a bleak picture of a Nintendo of America workplace with clear departments and issues for contractors and part-time workers, with evidence that the issues are causing tension in the building. Kotaku states that Nintendo refused to comment on his article.

You can read the full report at the following link.

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Fry Electronics Team

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