Chris Jarvis, 25, thought he would be shadowing a staff developer as an unpaid intern last year at Sony Computer Entertainment’s Cambridge studio in the U.K. When he showed up, he says he was ordered to test games instead.
Forgive me for finding that kind of servitude, well, Dickensian. Jarvis didn’t think it was funny, either, and “politely informed” his employers that this role entitled him to the U.K.’s national minimum wage, reports The Independent. When he still wasn’t paid — and Jarvis said he worked a 9:30 to 6 pm shift for three months — he reported the company to U.K. authorities and sued for his unpaid wages. Jarvis reasoned that the testing job he did would pay someone £100 a day and SCE Cambridge (now Guerilla Cambridge) took advantage of his intern status to save itself some cash.
Not only did Sony settle the case for £4,600 (£1,000 more than Jarvis demanded) they asked that he sign a gag order — and he flatly refused. And still got his money. So keep that in mind if you’re ever in a situation where some corporation is paying you money to go away.
Jarvis’ lawyer reminds that, in the U.K. a voluntary worker may only be employed for no pay by “a charity, a voluntary organisation, an associated fund-raising body, or a statutory body.” Even voluntary workers at a commercial company are entitled to minimum wage.