Inside EB Games: When The Dream Job Becomes A Nightmare

Inside EB Games: When The Dream Job Becomes A Nightmare
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In the beginning, everyone loves working at EB Games.

The dream job: being involved with the games industry, with like-minded people who have the same hobbies, enjoy the same things, speak the same language. A place where everyone loves video games. Of course they do; why else would they be working at EB Games?

We spoke to a number of people for whom working at EB was a dream job.

That dream job would turn into a nightmare.


Haylee calls it the “initiation” period.

“My first few weeks at EB,” she says, “I was just kind of filled with awe at how cool the job was.”

Working long hours, going out for drinks afterwards. Being part of the ‘culture’. Working with video games, with people who would become friends. In time, some would become lifelong friends.

A dream job.

So, in the beginning, Haylee thought nothing of doing a few extra hours for free. In a strange way she was just happy to be among friends.

Haylee would often work 10-hour days. Only four of those hours would be paid. Haylee would turn up to help at midnight launches and she wouldn’t get paid. Sometimes Haylee did it because she wanted to. Many times she did it because it was expected of her.

Speaking to a number of current and ex-EB employees, this is a consistent theme.

“Everyone I’ve ever talked to talks about how much they loved working at EB and wanted to work for free when they first started,” explains Haylee. “It was just like this awesome club, and you were a part of it.”

Haylee was a hard worker. She was a good worker. Eventually she started to question why so many of her worked hours were unpaid but she didn’t question too hard. At one point a superior informed her in no uncertain terms that he could “replace her in five minutes flat”. She quickly got the picture. This world will never suffer a shortage of young people who want to work in a video games store.

So Haylee kept working. Eventually her colleagues started talking about promotions, about an Assistant Manager’s position; Haylee’s dream job. It was then that Haylee was introduced to what she calls the ‘carrot dangle’. The more hours you work for free, the more you represent the EB ‘ethos’. The more you represent the EB ethos the more likely you are to get that promotion to Assistant Manager, full time, at EB. Living the dream.

Haylee kept working. She was always working.

During Haylee’s second year at the company there was an event. All EB managers had to attend. Haylee was still a casual, but she caught the train to attend, to take part. To remain part of that “awesome club”, to hang out.

Later that night Haylee wanted to catch up with her friend — an old manager of hers — but he was in the midst of an argument with his girlfriend and wasn’t in the mood. Another EB employee, however, was still in town. They caught up. They had a few drinks. Later, she says, when they were alone, he made a move. Haylee wasn’t interested. She said no. According to Haylee, he was persistent. Again, she said no. “I said no about 30,000 times”. But Haylee claims he wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t stop.

“It was rape,” alleges Haylee.

Haylee caught the 4am train home, in tears for the whole trip.


Working at EB made a lot of sense for Randall. The PS4 and Xbox One were close to launch, his local store was busy and needed three or four more casuals to fill up the roster.

Randall had a friend who worked there. He’d spent a fair amount of time at the store and knew the guys. Why not? He was a post-graduate student and, quite frankly, needed the extra cash. Randall applied, had a quick interview, and was hired on the spot.

The first thing Randall noticed was EB’s laser-like focus on “Key-Performance-Indicators” (KPIs). It was a very sales driven environment and numbers were everything. Randall was constantly being told to push for pre-order sales, for trades, for game guarantees. In addition, staff were being ranked at both the store on a state and national level, meaning that no matter how well the store was doing one member of staff was always ranked last.

And if you were ranked last in the store you could expect a call from Mark DiStefano.

Mark DiStefano was Randall’s District Manager, one step above his store manager. According to Randall, he had a reputation for calling up whoever came last to deliver a constant barrage of abuse. Randall was never in last position, but that didn’t stop him from receiving similar calls.

“Mark would verbally abuse us,” says Randall. “Using phrases like, ‘You’re a fucking idiot’, ‘Fucking bastard’, ‘One more fuck-up and you’re fucking gone’.”

It was intimidating but Randall had heard enough. After a few of these phone calls he asked Mark for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the issues. Surely this could be solved over a coffee.

Randall claims Mark refused the meeting.

That’s when things began to escalate, he says.

Months later: Randall was covering a shift at another store. A store he’d never worked at before. Whilst he was working, Mark DiStefano arrived.

“I was confused and in shock at this point,” says Randall.

One hour later, Randall was talking to a customer. Randall claims Mark stormed out of the office and into the store, walked directly towards a Minecraft display and started swearing loudly, picking objects off the display, violently tossing them around — while the customer was still in the store.

“I was confused and in shock at this point,” says Randall.

The customer left.

Then, according to Randall, Mark beckoned him over.

“Don’t you fucking know anything, you fucking useless bastard?”

Randall tried to explain: this was his first time at the store, he didn’t have anything to do with it. It didn’t matter.

In a rage, Mark DiStefano allegedly ripped down the entire display, throwing stock everywhere.

“I didn’t really know what to do. I mean, how do you even respond to that? I just kept my mouth shut and did what he asked.”

Later a regular staff member arrived at the store. He chatted to Mark as Randall cleaned up the stock Mark had been throwing around.

Mark motioned towards Randall, who is of Indian descent, and allegedly said the following:

“He’s gonna end up as a sleazy car salesman or a taxi driver.”


Haylee didn’t tell anyone about the alleged rape. EB Games doesn’t have an internal HR department — she had no idea who she should tell.

For two months she kept it to herself. She continued working at the store.

Eventually, Haylee broke down.

She told her boyfriend, another EB employee. Haylee protested, but her boyfriend was adamant she tell a manager. They went together. Haylee was terrified.

Terrified of making an official complaint, of having people misconstrue the situation, of being shunned. Terrified people wouldn’t believe her, that she would be judged.

The language Haylee’s manager used exacerbated those concerns.

“He kept telling how it was going to be really hard for people to believe me, that I had to be really sure because it would be taken to the police and get serious, that they’d question me and stuff.

“Basically he kept going on about how nobody would believe me.”

“Maybe it came down to the fact that it really was some 19-year-old store casual’s word against an employee and it was easier to just brush it all under the rug.”

Haylee was spooked. She didn’t want to go to the police. She was told the issue would be taken higher up the chain, but never heard anything further.

Two people we spoke to confirmed this conversation took place. EB Games said it has no record of any such complaint in that area.


“My EB name tag said ‘Randy’,” explained Randall. “Mark actually never called me that. Ever. He wouldn’t address me by name. It was usually ‘Apu’ or ‘the Indian guy’.”

Randall says the abuse continued to escalate.

According to Randall, there was another incident: Mark DiStefano demanded a meeting. Turn up at 8am on the dot or you were fired.

Mark claimed someone working at the store was a thief. An item of stock was missing. Mark’s solution: every single member of staff had to provide their Xbox LIVE account names, PSN, personal emails – everything. If they didn’t, they would be fired on the spot.

Under tremendous pressure, everyone obliged except Brad.

Brad was a friend of Randall’s.

Brad was on antidepressants and suffered from asthma. Immediately Mark allegedly began abusing him, making fun of his depression.

“He made comments like: ‘I don’t know how your parents can love you, you’re a fat useless piece of shit. You’re done here, you bastard. Get the fuck out. I dare you to put EB as a reference.’”

According to Randall and his colleague Kurt, Mark DiStefano had been verbally abusing certain staff members with homophobic slurs for months, calling Randall and a couple of other employees “faggots”. Randall claims Mark would spread rumours that Randall and Kurt were dating.

During a sales training meeting Mark introduced staff members to a new system of customer service called the ‘WOW factor’. Fairly standard stuff — make the customer feel welcome, go above and beyond, etc.

Mark’s alleged description of the ‘WOW factor’: ‘give the customers the best blowjob of their life’. And if they still weren’t happy? ‘Bend over the counter and let them fuck you in the ass’.


[clear]

“EB Games goes above and beyond to provide our employees with a safe working environment and we have zero tolerance on bullying and harassment. This includes contracting an external HR consultancy firm and an independent third-party who operate an Integrity Hotline.”

That’s part of the official statement EB Games sent us when we contacted them for the purposes of this story.

The Integrity Hotline: A number of people we spoke to made reference to it. According to them, it was something of a running joke.

“If someone says something inappropriate in the store, or lobs something at your head, everyone chants ‘oh, I’m dobbing you into the integrity hotline’,” says Haylee.

The Integrity Hotline is a number EB employees can dial to report any issues they are having at work. It promises anonymity but, according to one head office staff member, that anonymity was rarely upheld. Usually complaints filtered down through management back to staff members involved in any incident, if they filtered down at all.

After being allegedly verbally abused by Mark DiStefano, Randall’s friend Brad made an official complaint to the integrity hotline, but there was absolutely no follow-up, according to both Randall and Brad. An EB Games spokesperson claimed they had no record of the complaint. According to both Brad and Randall, that simply isn’t true.

Everyone we spoke to highlighted how lost and powerless EB employees — particularly casual employees — felt in situations where they felt abused or exploited. If you had an issue there were two options: call the integrity hotline or contact your line manager. One was a running joke, the other involved a massive amount of risk.

“The unspoken understanding,” explains Amy Mason, “is complainers don’t get hours.”

Amy Mason was an Assistant Manager at EB Games. According to her, and many others, EB Games as a company would be unsustainable without the incredible amount of unpaid hours worked by both store managers and casuals.

“The unspoken understanding,” explains Amy Mason, “is complainers don’t get hours.”

“As an Assistant Manager, I was working 60-hour weeks and getting paid $39,000 a year, and I’m not even kidding,” she says.

The main issue according to Amy: Managers were given payroll to manage the store, essentially a budget for casual hours. Without exception, says Amy, that budget wasn’t close to the amount required to run the store successfully.

“I had to work every public holiday pretty much, and would be given ‘days in lieu’ that I was never able to take because there was no payroll to get a casual to cover me,” says Amy.

Managers and Assistant Managers claim they run themselves into the ground. Casuals said they were expected to work extra hours for free, to embody the “EB ethos”. Expected to turn up early to open the store without pay. Expected to close the store without pay. According to Randall, it would often take an extra two hours to do the work he was required to do in a three hour shift, but his store only had budget for one casual. When he complained about this to management he was told to “organise his time better”.

Midnight launches. Everyone we spoke to claimed they had worked midnight launches without pay. The unspoken assumption: if you didn’t your hours would be cut.

Allegedly, sick days were also an issue.

“I didn’t have sick days,” claims Amy. “I worked through many a chest infection and even pneumonia.”

At one point, Amy had to get her wisdom teeth removed, a procedure that required she take a day off.

“I was told I could have it as a day in lieu for a public holiday I worked, but not sick leave.”


We approached EB Games for comment regarding unpaid hours.

“EB Games complies with all Fair Work Australia’s rules and regulations,” read a statement sent in reply.

“With regards to unpaid overtime, all casuals are paid for the hours they work including midnight launches. If casuals are working for “free” this is not something that is being asked of them by the company.”
[related title=”More Australian Features” tag=”mark feature” items=”4″]
Amy admits she was never asked by upper management to force staff members to work for free, but believes that a “very well thought out system” forces managers to take advantage of casual workers.

“It works,” says Amy, “because we got resumes handed in daily. The threat is always there: you are so replaceable. Why else would people work for free? What other reason is there?”

EB’s lack of an internal HR department, believes Amy, is a major issue, making it extremely difficult to register any kind of complaint regarding inappropriate work hours. EB Games has almost 400 stores, employing an estimated 2000 employees, but has no dedicated internal HR department. According to experts in the field, that isn’t necessarily strange, but it’s far from best practice. In a statement EB Games informed Kotaku that all HR roles were “covered” in the business, but no-one we spoke to was provided with a point of contact for HR related problems.

Amy believes she racked up “hundreds of hours” of unpaid work. Randall remembers working entire seven hour shifts without pay, setting up for stock takes or sales. Others we spoke to for the purposes of this story said the precise same thing. All had worked for free at some point.


Randall and four other colleagues have placed an official complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission. All five made statutory declarations regarding their treatment at the hands of Mark DiStefano.

“I have worked for Mark for a long time,” read one statement, “and can attest to his appalling and disgusting way he conducts himself.” [sic]

Another statement: “Mark on numerous occasions called me an asshole and a cunt.”

A third statement: “I suffer from extreme depression and anxiety because of events that occurred at EB.”

On Friday, after a number of delays, EB Games finally responded to the allegations. EB claims to have undertaken a three week internal investigation. They deny all charges corroborated by five different EB employees in separate statements. In the words of EB Games’ mediator: “[t]here has not been unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation.”

Mark DiStefano denies having ever verbally abused Randall or the four other employees. EB Games denies any and all liability.

Recently Randall was informed that he was officially banned from all EB Games stores. He thought it might be a joke. He called up the EB customer service hotline to check.

Later he got a callback. Yes, the operator confirmed, Randall had been banned from all EB stores. Nationwide. Randall asked why? The operator claimed she didn’t need to provide a reason. Determined, Randall asked to speak to a manager. The manager was far more polite and happy to confirm that Randall had been banned.

On the advice of Mark DiStefano.

If you suffer from depression and want to talk to someone, you can call beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or chat to someone online.

Comments

  • Just a reminder for our discussion section, everyone — please follow our Community Guidelines, keep it civil and remember that any comments you make online can be connected to you in the real world.

    Any comments disclosing personal information or inciting violence will be removed.

    • I’ve worked at EB Games for nearly four years and this is ridiculous? I’ve always been paid for every moment I’ve been working in the store…I also get paid for helping out at a midnight release and all of the employees of EB that have been higher up than me have been amazing, encouraging people. Don’t be so pathetically gullible please.
      It’s the best job I’ve ever had.

      • Glad you’re enjoying it, it was by far the worst job I’ve ever had, competing against colleagues, absurd KPIs, pushy selling expectations and the gutting games system was horrendous. It seemed like a dream from the outside though.

      • I worked at Dick Smith Electronics for around 5 years myself. While I had the best boss ever, and a FANTASTIC area manager (shoutout to Lloyd, wherever you are now mate…), I can tell you this sort of thing went on in DSE towards the end of my tenure in certain areas too albeit not to this high level. People staying back unpaid, people yelled at by area managers too etc. Just because it hasn’t happened to you, does not mean it hasn’t happened to others. Stuff like this never happened to me, but I do know for a fact it happened to friends of mine in DSE.

        • I’ve been with DSE for a while now and it’s true, my current manager tries so hard to do right by the four people (including myself) that work with him but after new regional management stepped in, it’s become so much worse.
          (840)

      • The one I can confirm is Mark DiStefano, who is the District Manager from Wollongong, NSW

        • I went to the midnight launch for the PS4 and Xbox One in Wollongong ( At the time seeing family ) and no hate but Mark is a jackass yelled at unfortunate people who hadn’t preordered and told them to quote “Come back when you can afford it” I mean not trying to put crap but he is a dick

      • It’s great that you’ve had a positive experience in your time at EB Games but this doesn’t invalidate the experiences of others. I worked under the area manager in question and while I was neither witness or victim to his outbursts I also believe what others say they experienced. They’ve signed legal declarations and put their reputations on the line in the search for some justice or redress.

        I can say that every single employee I know from my time there had their labour exploited for free for the possibility of more work. It’s a place where you wanted to belong and the price of entry was to get forgo your rights as an employee so you could work with people you consider friends.

      • im an ex employee. Left of my own free will. The amount of abuse this company gets away with is ridiculous. I work harder in my new job yet I feel better as the bullshit isn’t here

      • You got a decent manager then. I am an ex manager who resigned for being instructed to do many of the things stated. I refused and paid staff for hours worked and started getting backlash. So I left for a better organisation.

      • I worked at EB for five years in Victoria and I can attest to this. Worked at around five stores and never got paid for cleaning and resorting shelves after the store closed, attending regional meetings and never had access to HR. Throughout my years there, a colleague would resist working unpaid after hours and their hours would dwindle down to 3 hours a week – forcing that person to quit. As the article said, there was an upspoken rule that you needed to work free if you wanted to stick around, and even more if you wanted to bump up your promotion prospects.

      • Worked there for four years and this kind of crap is really common. EB is a terribly run company, it’s like they have no one at head office who even understands employment law.

      • I’m sorry, but a name like that is kind of suspicious… at this point all I have are possibilities… but you have to admit a name like “EBEmployee” is kind of uncreative and suspicious…

    • I’ve worked for EB for around 7 years as a casual and can confirm the following complaints about underpaid work. Especially in regard to sales set ups and closing the store. In one event during Christmas I worked over 80 hours in one week, most of the time without a break. Should this amount of overtime occur according to law you need to be awarded penalty rates. Upon discovering my pay was much less than expected I called payroll. My call was met with much hostility because how dare a casual jump the levels of management to contact head office directly. The issue was I had been paid yet minus the overtime. When I asked why the frosty response was that I had had half hour breaks every 5 hours. This wasn’t the case. Due to the understaffed and overcrowded customer store conditions breaks weren’t possible. So the result was payroll had forcibly included breaks into my shifts despite the fact I hadn’t had these. EB Games has an incredibly cancerous back office and management style. They’ll squeeze every cent and break every aspiring young worker to increase their profit margin.

    • But also common knowledge if you shop at certain EB stores. Some are worse than others, and there’s one I attend frequently where the staff change so often it’s depressing.

    • Absolutely, sadly this is how it always plays out in the workplace.

      Companies try to guilt the victim into not taking this further. Worse yet when the victim is male and the perpetrator is female.

      I was on the receiving end of sexual harassment when I worked at Staples and it was truly soul crushing to hear management tell you “You can’t choose the people that you work with”.

      HR and even the independent companies they get to handle these things try to coerce you into not taking it further.

    • This is why I honestly believe that everyone should work construction at one point in their life. It teaches you not to take this crap. That guy whom wanted to be a violent, verbally abusive, racist prick? He would have said that shit one fucking time to my face and I would have literally broken his nose, orbital or jaw, depending on where my punch landed. I lodge a complaint about something as serious as rape and it doesn’t get handled? I break the fucking piece of garbage’s leg the next time I see him in the workplace. You don’t want to settle it, I fucking will.

      This is the type of stuff here, it is this that makes construction the best industry, I’ve found. We all, across the board, live by a ‘take no shit’ policy. Even the laborers, so the ‘bitches’ of the operation. That’s what I am, and it still won’t cost me my job if something like what was described here happened, and I broke a mother fucker? I wouldn’t even lose my job. There wouldn’t even be a police report or anything. That shit don’t fly, not even a little bit. I have literally gotten in a full blown fistfight with my foreman, because he said something he really shouldn’t have (racial) and he kept going, and then threw a piece of shingle at me. So I decked him and we got in a fight, on the fucking roof no less! No police involved, no labor report, nobody lost their job, nothing. And this isn’t just for roofing, I’ve found this across the board for almost all construction. Its why we ‘can only’ get construction jobs. We won’t bend over and take it in the ass from no one regardless of their ‘superiority’ in comparison to us. You claim to be my superior, you better well prove it, in skill, maturity, attitude and demeanor. Or else-wise, fuck you. Its pretty simple.

      • I’m not sure that physically attacking someone is demonstrating maturity, a good attitude or a good demeanour. In fact, I’m pretty sure it demonstrates the exact opposite. But dif strokes, to each their own etc.

      • … and after i kicked the shit out of my manager i went home and ate a bowl of broken glass for breakfast. No milk.

      • Yeah, beating your chest and flexing your muscles must make you so proud. If you hit someone because they’re talking then you’re just as much a piece of garbage. Control yourself , grow up and stop patting yourself on the back for thinking you stand for anything. Whatever you believe, you are simply not qualified to handle situation. Break their nose? Sit back and watch someone better than you deal with it instead.

      • 1) That reaction would land you in gaol. Also reiterating the above sentiment that violence isn’t a great answer to problems.

        2) Supply and demand. You can afford to say you don’t want to work over time. Trades & construction are relatively (in Australia, at least) in high demand. People are less able to lose a worker (unless, you know, they’re a violent psychopath). Whereas as they repeatedly pointed out above there are people lining up who will work for free at EB Games if you won’t. In that industry you are so replaceable that even questioning will get you fired.

      • And of course this method is highly effective if your boss is larger/stronger/more willing to hurt people than you are.

        Is a 17YO female junior supposed to take out her frustrations on a male senior manager? Not only will she lose her job and possibly a few teeth, many stores are covered by cameras and she could easily find herself up on charges.

        The only superiority your suggested method demonstrates is a superior ability for physical violence. In construction, the people at the bottom of the chain will tend to be physically fit and capable. It’s not so in all other industries – or even most other industries.

      • There’s a huge difference in attitude though. Punching the manager would have resulted in a lawsuit and a nation-wide ban, as well as a bad rep for Randall. And physical violence hardly seems like a solution.

  • Dream job? I think not. Plus who wants to work for/with non-gamers or “gamers” with poor knowledge of pc/video games!!?

    • I work for this company, have been for almost 6 years and i’m a PC gamer, have been my entire life. In fact most customers are directed to me if they need any PC-game related help, as i’m the only worker at my store who is a full on PC gamer. Not everyone has “poor” knowledge of pc/video games. Don’t ever make poor assumptions 😉

  • Man, this is probably why I’ve always had trouble getting a job. I don’t work hours I don’t owe or won’t be paid for.

    “Neo-Kaiser, I need you to stay behind an extra couple of hours”
    “Will I be paid?”
    “Well no, but you-”
    *out the door*

    • Well said. I’ve been criticized in the workplace before for refusing to be exploited. Unpaid overtime is theft, pure and simple.

      • Probably why my managers always were annoyed when I stayed late to make up for lazy hours.

      • Man I didn’t realise this was such a problem. I worked casual retail at the Reject Shop but the pay was great and even though we had some shitty hours at Christmas time, we always got paid a ton extra for it.

      • Guys there are hotlines for this stuff, I’m pretty sure your employers would be pissed but legally your employer needs to pay you for all the time you’re working.

      • Unfortunately I work for the company where the CEO sees people starting early / staying back constantly as a sign of a good worker.. I see it as a sign of someone that cant get their work done in the time allotted to them during the day. I’ll stay back to finish work on my own accord if I know it’s urgent or will make my next day / week easier but I don’t consider having to stay back (unpaid) as a sign of a good worker.

        • Very true. Same on my end. We have some people who, demonstratively, have no time management skills … they like to mess round during the day then play the martyr and be seen to be leaving late.

          It’s frustrating: I usually choose to ignore it and simply be glad I’m in a continuing appointment in a public institution..

    • When I moved back to NZ I found it a bit tough to get a job. I applied for a job I really wanted and to set myself apart I offered to work for 2 weeks for free and if they were pleased they’d give me the job. It worked and they gave me the job they also back payed me for the 2 weeks I did. That was back in my late teens im now 32 and started my current job 12months ago and this has been the only place I’ve worked where you get paid for EVERY hr you work and any hours over my 40hrs is paid time and a half. My previous jobs have been salary and you were expected at certain times to work a bit extra to maybe get a job out on time etc, if you declined when redundancies came around you didn’t last long.

      • The reason they back-paid you is that it would be completely illegal to have you work for them unpaid on a ‘trial’ basis for two weeks. Trial work is only legal if it’s kept to a reasonable amount of time, long enough to evaluate your skills. That’s usually somewhere between one hour to one shift. Beyond that is unreasonable according to Australian labor laws and you are entitled to minimum pay.

        http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/unpaid-work/unpaid-trials

        • If you actually read his comment instead of showing how much of an internet lawyer you are, you’d have noticed he said New Zealand, not Australia – believe it or not they have their own laws.

          • In New Zealand they have to pay you for all the work you do, just like in Australia. Believe it or not.

          • You’re right, misread ‘to NZ’ as ‘from NZ’

            New Zealand as of a few years ago actually has a tighter case law around it than Australia does: the employee can’t have any monetary gain from the unpaid trial worker. So eg if they’re a trial barista and they make a coffee, that can’t be sold to a customer. They have a ’90 day trial’ provision as well but both parties have to agree to that, and as far as I know it has to be paid.

          • It was in 2001 I didn’t know what the laws were then and id just moved here. It was for an Apprentice Cabinet maker position but for the 2 week period they had me working in the warehouse lugging around matresses and packing furniture I was 19. It probably wasn’t exactly legal what they did but I know why they did it apprenticeships were hard to come by so yea I think if I had sucked they probably would have just paid me cash in hand under the table so it didn’t affect my dole money I was receiving at the time.

        • I have read the article and a lot of your comments. This behaviour in business is not only seen at EBGames. I blame education for one thing. I am a self employed bookkeeper and I know of employees (uni student no less) that don’t even know what an award is. What their rights are as employees. This is standard stuff guys. obviously parents are no longer teaching their kids about this stuff so then we need to look to the Education system to pick up the slack. There should be a unit in year 10 that not only shows you how to apply for your TFN but what workplace laws are and where you can go to find out this info. What is a union….?? Apart from the place where those fat loud people from the construction industry work, it is a place where people fight for your rights and fight for better treatment of workers. Kids need to be taught that they have a choice…. but they also need to know what those choices are.

          okay all done I can put my Soap Box away now

    • i totally get this. I hate being expected to work overtime and not be paid. But “somehow” when they don’t expect it, i love to work hard for the company and do unpaid extra hours. Who would have thought that being a good boss would actually work.

      • it’s pretty standard human nature: most people don’t mind or even like doing nice things when it’s not expected; the second people act all entitled to your kindness – no one wants to do it anymore.

    • Thats good, it means you are strong enough to stand up for yourself and not be bullied just because you think its a ‘dream job’

      Never work for free, because that devalues your brand and what you’re worth (unless its for a NFP or charity)

      • I disagree. I have worked long hours without pay because I enjoy my job and am actually invested in the company and team. I’ve been promoted 3 times in 2 years – I think as long as the company recognizes your dedication and doesn’t expect it, some unpaid overtime is fine.

        • Sure, when you’re paid a full time salary some reasonable overtime is fine.

          When you’re a casual – a 10 hour shift and only being paid for 4 is downright disgusting.

          EB seem to have developed a system in their favor that relies on the fact that most casuals are young and are scared to step on toes, lest they can’t find another job.

        • strange you remind of the type who would tell Haylee that no one would believe her. Thank f**k not all of us are brainwashed fools.

          • Right, because I don’t mind staying late to get the job done, I must think rape is fine.

            Nice use of logic there, champ. Care to try again?

        • If you’re regularly working many hours without pay then you’re a fool. You should recognise that they can afford to pay you, they just don’t want to.
          If a business requires its employees to work for free to stay afloat then that business is unviable and should go under.

          • The business doesn’t require me to stay late – I choose to, because I don’t want to rush through and submit sub-standard work. I believe in what we do, and obviously the dedication has been recognized due to said promotions.

            The way I see it, when you begin your career, the extra hours are a down-payment on future advancement. If you aren’t willing to do this, that’s perfectly fine – it’s your life, live it as you will. But calling someone a fool because they are trying to get ahead? That’s a bit rich.

            Look at it this way – you have an opening in management, and your two choices are the guy that shows up at 9 and leaves at 5.30 every day, or the one that shows up a bit early and stays late to get the job done… who would you choose?

          • There is a difference between showing up a little earlier and staying back a little later to do a good job and be prepared and what EB expects. To meet budgets I was told to set up for the sales special alone which was 5 hours unpaid work alone. And the casuals were told they werent paid after the store closed to clean and tidy. While I managed I ensured that they were paid for 30mins after close and I expected them to have it all done. But 546 hours unpaid at a minimum each year for 1 site is ridiculous.

          • I would choose the one who I believed was the best fit for management.
            If the allotted time in your shift is consistently not enough to complete your work to a good standard then that means your employer needs to hire more people, or pay you to work overtime.
            If you want to spend the extra hours at work then by all means go ahead, but it should not be an expected part of employment.

          • I agree with you, and have a similar job where I stay back every once in a while to get work done, but it’s not regular or very frequent at all.

            But just because you and I are in a position where it is ok (it’s not expected of us often, and we are rewarded in the long run), doesn’t mean it applies to everyone and every job.

            Specifically for the case with EBGames, we are talking about 10hr shifts and only getting paid 4; would you take your standard salary for a 40hr week but work 60 hours overtime on top of that for free?
            Furthermore, these are casuals; they don’t have a full time contract that protects them from unfair dismissal (they don’t need much of a reason to fire a casual), and they don’t get sick or annual leave or any other benefits.
            Finally, I highly doubt any of those casuals are likely at all to get promoted in anyway, regardless of how much unpaid overtime they get. At least for you and I we have annual salary reviews and lots of potential for promotion.

            So my point is really, it isn’t black and white. You need to recognise when you are with an employer where it will be worth the unpaid extra hours; and another point on top of that is that you need the experience to recognise this situation; most if not all people in this position are too young and inexperienced to recognise this, and so shouldn’t risk it at all.

          • I totally agree!

            My point was that sweeping generalizations like If you’re regularly working many hours without pay then you’re a fool aren’t true at all, there are many people that will work extra (technically) unpaid hours quite happily.

          • Your working full time with a salary? But your not paid hourly, your on a salary. Basically you’ve agreed to a set amount of hours for the period of the contract.

            That’s completely different to a casual and even part time role. And not being paid for hours worked is actually illegal. Plus who wants to work free hours in retail.

    • It’s great that you’re able to adopt this position, but remember that a lot of people simply aren’t in a position to say no to these requests. Which is why having a powerful statutory authority with good investigative powers is so important.

      • Agree totally with this. My own feeling is there is no way on earth i would allow myself to be exploited like this. However, not everyone is in the privileged position to be able to just say no (or has the confidence to). It is a very uneven playing field and there is a massive power differential between some employers and their employees that simply doesn’t exist in other sectors.

    • I work unpaid over time when needed (I’m the only one who can fix some problems and if it’s longer than a couple hours I bill it) but I guess my job is a career and it all evens out with me leaving early when needed/working from home if sick and not having to use a sick day. All depends on the job and the culture there, but yeah EB is exploiting people not being flexible.

    • EB closes at 5pm and that’s when you stop getting paid. But you’re expected to wait while the till is counted down, finish tagging the trade ins, fix up the shelves, straighten up the store, vacuum and then when the manager is ready to pat you down and inspect your bag to make sure you’re not stealing anything, you’re free to go – perhaps around 6:30pm or so.

      But if you want to get more shifts, you’ll happily stick around until 7 or 8 chatting and going that extra bit further. If there’s a big sale starting you need to prepare for, what’s the big deal staying back til 10 or 11? Sometimes you might have training that runs late. You’ll be paid for it, we swear. Then when you aren’t paid, you must have misunderstood, you heard wrong. We’ll give you time in lieu. Time in lieu? you must have heard wrong, we never said that.

      Then you’re not getting shifts because you have a life outside of work, and your sales numbers aren’t as good as the other guy who start at the same day as you, a guy who comes in on his off days while you’re at uni, who starts early and finishes late, off the clock, every day. You point this out and are met with “well we’re not going to have more shifts for you until you fix your numbers”. What does that mean? How do I get more sales when I don’t have more shifts?

      Well, we don’t have shifts for your right now.

      “Am I fired?” you ask.

      We don’t have shifts for you.

      Then you find out a few weeks later your staff discount no longer works.

      • That’s how we were planning on getting rid of a troubling employee. Except he cost us 10,000 bucks and wasn’t improving.

        • It’s really best for everyone if you tell someone they’re fired and why. It’s not fun for anyone but still far more respectful and I believe everyone is better off. I’ve had to fire some real shitheads, and it still sucks.

          • I asked my manager and he told me (at least in Australia) that it’s not as simple as it seems like on TV or in movies. You can easily run the risk of getting sued.

          • AHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH.

            Do you believe everything your manage says? Or do you research yourself?

          • No he’s right. It can be very painful to get rid of dead wood. There’s a lot of legislation that puts the employer on the back foot which can be a good and bad thing. It applies to all industry.

          • Yeah, like @mypetmonkey said, it can actually be very difficult to fire people depending on the contract they’ve signed or the award they’re on. There often needs to be documented evidence of incompetence or misbehaviour (and ‘personality conflicts’ usually doesn’t cut it – it typically needs to be bad behaviour warranting disciplinary action, not just that they’re disliked).

            And not just that, but there often needs to be evidence of management attempting to reach a resolution by training and improving.

            This is frequently why the ‘there aren’t any hours’ excuse is used – to pressure an employee into quitting because it’s no longer giving them a wage. It’s inexcusable, but frequently seen as the only alternative to going through an arduous firing process which can be appealed against as an ‘unfair dismissal’. My guess is that unfair dismissal is an easier case to win than proving discrimination on hours provided.

          • If you follow the process – its simple. What you are talking about is the consumption of time in order to do such a thing.

          • Yeah, and I’m guessing that’s one of the deterrents. Additional concerns about ‘making a scene’, or being lumped with a recalcitrant poor performer, or… and this one’s probably the biggest, being forced to stick with someone they really just want to fire for personal reasons. It’s a terrible reason to go down shoddy paths to pressuring someone out of a job, but we’re talking about (in some cases DEEPLY) flawed human beings here, doing the wrong thing in the first place.

          • Maybe so, but as long as it’s for legit reasons and you’ve given them ample opportunity to address any issues. I’m in the APS, so it’s a pretty epic process to get rid of anyone (nearly a years worth and so much documentation) – nothing like in the movies! To be fair though, I didn’t really have the option of just not giving them any shifts. Or moving them into the basement.

          • You need to give them three warnings to change their behaviour or be fired, I believe. So first meeting: you need to shape up. Second meeting: I can prove you’re not shaping up. Third meeting: shape up now or you’re fired.

            I believe they don’t even have to be about the same things, necessarily.

          • The problem there is they can be stealing and you still need three freaking warnings.

          • Not true.

            Gross misconduct is immediately a fire able offence, you do need a modicum of evidence for it though.

            Otherwise the information in this thread has been broadly correct. Of course all this documentation and warning is meant to specifically stop employers doing what they do to these casuals…

          • Wrong.
            Commit any criminal act (and get caught doing so) and you can be fired on the spot.
            Employment laws do not trump criminal laws.

      • Hopefully enough EB employees read this article and go to the Fair Work Ombudsman. It sounds like there is a systematic exploitation of the employee’s desire to keep their job. It also sounds like EB is forcing managers to employ staff on a casual basis when a reasonably predictable shift would otherwise class the employee as permanent part-time. I think there needs to be a thorough investigation into these practices.

        • Yeah, if these people are being exploited and the current internal system doesn’t work, they need to take it to fair work. if enough of them do it, it ceases to be hearsay and they’ll launch an investigation. Won’t change things immediately but it will happen.

      • 5? If only! We closed at 5.30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. 9pm Thursdays & 3pm Sundays. 😛 (i’m just messing with ya)

        But yeah. This was expected of me at Dan Murphy’s but they paid overtime, which was interesting, that only happened once, but in our defense we were short staffed that one time. But at EB my manager kicked me out no more than 10 minutes after close. She didn’t want me staying around not getting paid. Even though I insisted I stay and help her tidy up the store since it seemed pretty unfair on her to do it all especially since she lived at least a 20 min drive away and I lived a 5 minute walk away.

    • It’s why I lost my last job.

      This kind of thing is, unfortunately, pretty out of hand in Australia in general IMO and not limited to EB games. All my past jobs have expected it at some point.

      Can’t even use them as past experience or references because I’m a lazy sh1t after resigning because I refuse to work public holidays (at night!) with no compensation.

      • My sis works at target. Whilst she always gets paid for her hours, if she is sick or needs time off, her hours will go down the next week.

        • My experience with this is they usually just copy shifts from the previous roster, nothing nefarious going on – if you’re not on the old roster; you don’t make it onto the new one.

    • Get a blue collar job if you want paid o.t 80k a year plus penalties. 45-60 hr weeks but worth it

    • I’m a post-grad student and am looking for weekend work at the moment. Last week I got offered a hospitality job at an hourly rate $8 lower than the legal minimum wage. The place is popular and makes an absolute killing.
      I can’t believe that businesses think they can get away with paying an illegal wage. It makes me bloody angry.
      I’m supposed to start there this Friday so I’m anticipating that they will tell me to piss off when I ask for a legal wage.

      • This is pretty standard stuff, especially around Melbourne. A lot of the time they’ll offer you $20/hour with no penalties, but it will be in cash and you’ll keep any note tips you get. It’s dodgy, but works especially well for students and backpackers.

      • Which company is this? I don’t see reason to withhold secrecy on a thread where we’re publicly lambasting another company by name. It will be proper warning for other people thinking of working in there.

    • Speaking as a construction worker, it is unspoken law that if I don’t get paid, someone’s getting decked. I love construction because it encourages you to speak up. I’ve gotten in full blown fist fights at work, no consequences, because I was right. Its a ‘take no shit’ environment, where the word ‘superior’ is….a suggestion at best. Just because you are my foreman don’t mean fucking SHIT if you are a total cunt.

      • I cant see a female, teenager trying to deck a make 20-something AsstMng/Mngr. over lost shifts or overtime – especially in a public space like a shopping center.

        You shouldnt need to get into a blue for your entitlements – this is why regulators with powers to enter a site and demand answers and evidence to claims is necessary.

      • Keon’s got it right. Those of you who don’t see that haven’t spent enough time on That Other Side of the Hoarding and seen how that attitude makes for a more open, honest, cooperative workplace. Is it slightly more violent? Yes, but only slightly. Think about it. These blokes do physical work. It only makes sense that they solve things that way more often than those whose primary work involves words.

        There are no veiled threats as in the IT pro and customer service worlds — they’re right out there, plain as day. Similarly, villains are taken care of effectively, because ya can’t trust a villain to have your back in a situation where your and other lives are at stake. This is as real as it gets. Most tradies who work on large projects have stories about how someone got into a dicey situation and perhaps people weren’t as quick to help them, or as quick to advise them “Don’t do that,” as they might have been for others.

        And as far as fair play goes, the tradies on crews that I know very much live by it at work. If you shirk more than the rest of the team, good luck getting their help when you need something heavy moved. But if you step up for a tough job, you get rewarded. It’s a small world – you’ll probably see these blokes again at some job at some point, so you want to do right by them.

        If you think a coworker or your foreman or the site manager is one of the Witt brothers (f, half or dim), you can tell them so (and they’ll probably say the same thing right back). And it won’t show up on your review, LOL.

        Yes, I’ve swung a guy off balance by grabbing his harness and yanking, and tossed him to the ground after about 10-12 comments I felt he intended to be threatening to me over the same number of days, with a simple, “F’ing DON’T. Now f off.” Foreman, upon hearing what I’d done, knowing that I’d taken it for a few weeks, said, “Atta girl.” And yes, I’d asked his permission before I did, as I was only a subcontractor and didn’t want to find myself off the site if the bloke complained. I’d specifically asked for permission to deal with it myself so that I didn’t become known as someone who needed a manager to fight her battles for her, among the crew. It worked. The message wasn’t, “I have the capability of damaging you. Don’t screw with me,” but more one of, “We all have to coexist here, and we all depend on each other for safety. Remember that.”

        As far as a female teenager trying to deck someone in a shopping mall, no, wouldn’t happen. Out of context. A site, however, is a different place.

    • A common tactic is to roster a certain number of hours for you to work, then assign more work than can actually be done in those hours. If you fail to meet the target, you’re a slacker.

  • Even though EB is fairly large, it seems to have all of the problems of most small businesses. Namely, people in any position of power think they are the most important people in the world and everyone under them serves to lick their boots. Nasty, disgraceful, incredibly petulant people. Small business dictators are far too common.

      • That totally shocked me – I didn’t think you could run a company that large without a HR department!

          • Except that as an ex-employee, I can tell you that if there is an ‘outsourced’ HR department, the employees know nothing of it.

          • That’s often the case with outsourced HR. The consultancy fee they charge is often a sliding scale based on the amount of work they have to do. Giving employees easy access to it is tantamount to shedding money (which flies in the face of the principle that caused them to outsource in the first place).

        • There was no HR dept when i was there.. They strugged enough to even put together a privacy statement to display to the public and refused to do so until it became required.

      • just remember though that the purpose of a HR department is to protect the company, not the employees. The implementation of a set of standards is a legal ass-covering exercise that has the side effect of producing some more consistent conditions for employees. But they’re not there to serve the interests of the employees against management. That’s what a union is for.

        • Sure, but even then, there’s a world of difference between a central HR department which might obfuscate the process of escalation (though within legal boundaries), and an outsourced one whose existence is a mystery to employees.

          Just knowing the chain is there is often a useful reassurance… even if it is lined with razorblades.

    • this is due to the culture.

      I’ve worked for many a company where every person they hire fits a stereotype that they think is best for the company, what they don’t realize is these ‘hard working self motivated winners’ as they normally call them result in them hiring narcissists and sociopaths.

    • It’s the culture of the place. Most managers and area managers come up through the ranks – by the time they get to that level, they’re well and truly indoctrinated.
      The “club” mentality referenced in the article is 100% true. When it comes to promotions you’re either in the club or you’re not.

  • I can pretty much confirm the culture. I used to work at EB Games back around 2000 and yeah the “free hours” thing is real. I never experienced any abuse at the hands of managers though. Back then Nick Hermans was the only Regional. Now there’s a few of them, including Hermans who remains to this day. But the non paid hours thing is completely true.

    The “borrowing” system was pretty bad too. Staff would take stuff home, including hardware, use it for months at a time, then bring it back and sell it “brand new” to customers. Not sure if that still happens anymore, but man is was rife back then. My old manager took home a PC Graphics card and used it for 6 months and brought it back and sold it.

    • Happened when I worked at my local eb about 4 years ago. One of the staff was notorious for taking home games, playing them and then putting them back on the shelf as new stock.

      • I quit back in ’11 and have seen the insane extent of ‘borrowing’ that goes on… It probably was a high contributor to why we failed 3 consecutive loss&prevention benchmarks… Then my manager was transferred to another store then magically we start hitting targets again…

        Ohh the stories I could tell.

      • You do realise that there’s a VERY good chance that any game you buy from EB that isn’t sealed is simply a game that has been used an returned by someone else utilising the 7 day return policy? This is common practice and every EB does it with full knowledge of head office. But…that’s another story.

    • Wait. Was this done with Steam Games too?

      I once bough Just Cause 2, got home and Steam rejected it saying the Key had already been used.

      Long story short, I took it back and the guy simply just swapped it say that several others including myself had the same problem in that week alone.

      I hope it’s a case of the keys being compromised as I’d hate to think it’s because someone actually used the copy I had first bought and then had replaced.

      • Yeah that can generally be the case. I’m sure there are quite a few stores that have employees who do it. Years ago I was friends with a manager of an EB Games, I would go in sometimes and visit him for his lunch break. Whenever I would go in he would let me pick a PC game off the shelf, take it home, install it and use the CD Key then bring it back the next day. He would then just send it back to the distributor and ask for another replacement copy. I’m sure however there are stores that just put them back on the shelf and sell them.

        Whenever they would get stock in for new games, generally a few days early, he would take them home and play them before release. I remember we went over to his house and played Guitar Hero edition that had the drums a few days before it came out. Day before release he just took it back to the store and put it back on display.

      • I think this happened to me just recently, I exhausted my local stores stock of The Last of Us GOTY because none of the DLC codes worked for all the copies they had. Returned for full refund, purchased elsewhere and code worked instantly :/

    • This (borrowing stuff) is not unique to EB. Many years ago I bought a game at Microcomputer Spot (long since out of business now). When I opened the box at home, the label showed visible wear and dirtying, and when I put the floppy into my Amiga it immediately found a virus.

      When I took the game back they denied everything and said I must have infected it myself – even though I always set the write protect on my floppies before inserting them.

      We can be thankful that nowadays almost all game media are read-only.

    • In all fairness, it CAN be really good. But like any retail job, you have your good days and bad days. If you can get the holy trinity of:

      1) Good manager
      2) Good crew
      3) Good location (customer wise)

      It can be awesome.

      • I’ve met some great people who work at EB. They actually give a shit about providing a service for the customer that they can be proud of. So many people in retail are just apathetic and think that the customer is a necessary evil.

        • So much this. Some customers just have it out for retail employees. But they’re pretty uncommon in all honesty. I find if you’re polite and give great service then you will be returned with the same from the customers. It’s not hard, but it can be very draining which does suck.

    • Not all ebgames are bad mate the one I go to at robina is amazing great staff and great manager and all that work there are hardcore gamers.

      • Yet the mark up they charge is up to $30 more than big W for a game. How does that type of thing encourage hardcore gamers?

        • that doesn’t really have anything to do with the staff at a particular store being good now though, does it?

        • Yeah having been to BigW’s, Kmarts, Targets and god only knows how many other stores that sell games I can honestly say I have NEVER seen any difference in prices between them and EB Games unless there are products that been marked down for clearance or there’s a sale on. The claim that EB Games mark their prices up is absolute BS

    • have you worked in every retail store ever? This story is disgusting but not a reflection of retail stores everywhere. I’ve dealt with a lot of small businesses and I’d never lump them in with the likes of EB.

        • The way EB handled this from the top is low grade. Banned the employee for making a complaint? Sure, some stores might try to be fair and nice places to work, but with attitudes like this at the top level it’s no surprise the shit attitude trickles down to store level.

      • I’m not defending EB in the least, but having worked in retail and knowing a number of people who have worked in retail I can tell you that this is far more common than you think.

      • There is a big difference between a big business like eb games and small independant mum and pop retail stores. Lets not defame those doing the right thing and as such doing it tough.

  • I kept reading the name and going “Isn’t Mark DiStefano a Buzzfeed Australia reporter?”

    I’m guessing it’s a different person though.

  • ‘Bend over the counter and let them fuck you in the ass’.

    Strange… looking at their pricing, I always kind of thought it was the other way round.

    Oh well – just another good reason to not shop there, as if any more reason were needed.

    • I only shop there for special editions (maybe once a year) and used games that are on sale and have realistically low prices (unlike charging $54 for Dynasty Warriors 6 on PS3 – pre-owned – a game which came out in 2007 – good news though, it’s down to $36 during the BIGGEST SALE EVER!)

      • I saw my local store selling Super Mario Galaxy for the ‘sale price’ of $79 a few weeks ago. Bloody rip-off.

        • I love it when the pre-owned copy is more expensive than the brand new still sealed copy.
          I wonder what mathematician came up with that equation.

    • Wait so we’re paying for sex too? Can’t I just leave that out of my purchase and get the discount??

  • Based on so much individual testimony and mysteriously not having any records of complaints being made (or even an HR PoC), these employees (present and former) should really be considering a class action lawsuit.

    I know a manager who works at an EB in QLD. “Unpaid hours” are optional (WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE), and a lot of midnight launchers are not optional either (also unpaid as presented in the story)

    Not going to name him, but still. This shit be cray and someone really needs to do something about it. A slew of complaints, directly to fairwork.gov.au is a good starting place – skip the non existent middlemen.

    • Definitely several breaches of IR laws, not to mention WHS/OHS. Good lawyer would have a field day with all of this, and their comments of “no records on file” only make the situation worse for EB.
      Absolutely disgusted by this, and will NEVER go into an EB store again.

      • all of this lawyer stuff is bs in the real world, the only way workers have ever successfully struck back at the corporate overlords is by forming unions on the job. This rotten system needs to go

        • I’m pretty sure by forming a union, the staff are just pooling their resources so they can hire a ‘union’ lawyer, so it’s still lawyer bs…

    • a good deal of this does seem to be lack of legal knowledge. at its most basic, you cannot be legally fired on the spot without written knowledge unless it is a severe breach (product theft, vandalism, assault and so on). There is also a minimum number of hours per fortnight that an employee (even casual) is required to be rostered. All of those issues discussed would seem to be legally disputable, and with a bit of preparation, especially if you know in advance that say, a phonecall is going to go a certain way, you can record and use as evidence.

    • Heh, maybe *they* have no complaints, but the outsourced ‘integrity line’ in the Philippines might. It’s just not part of EB Games 🙂

      • Teletech? Probably. Place is a fucking sweatshop. Talking to your cubicle-neighbour? Fired. Look at your phone? Fired. Talk out of line? Fired. It’s no wonder every Filo call centre employee sounds perpetually tired.

    • The way the free hours are run, it would be the managers taking the legal blame. The company itself isn’t responsible for the rosters: they just give the manager a budget. The manager can’t run the store on the budget, so they can work every opening hour, or staff can be encouraged to stay back after their shift.

      • This is much the way this stuff is handled at many other businesses, particularly businesses in financial trouble – when staff are laid off, other staff wind up taking up the slack, with a blind spot for any overtime required.

        If you fail to do the extra work, you get sacked for underperforming, and if you complain, you find yourself on the next redundancies list.

        Not to say it’s by any means the right thing to do, just that it’s unfortunately quite common. Been there, done that. (Or been done by that.)

      • It just means that not enough people are speaking up. Most people are just taking it up the bum and then continue working like nothing has happened

        • Your outlook is grim… but unfortunately true. Blaming the people being shafted is where you go wrong though.

          Many people in this situation are too scared to speak out when the consequence is loosing your job and so nothing changes.

          • You take that back!

            😛

            But seriously, I think we need more effective mechanisms to investigate shonky employers. The Workplace Ombudsman is good, but doesn’t go far enough in my view. The trouble with unions is that they invariably become their own raison d’etre, just like political parties. Serving the people that they are meant to serve is only part of their focus. The other part is maintaining their positions of power for their own good (the good of their officers).

          • That’s a narrow view of unions that doesn’t reflect my experience at all.
            You seem to judging an entire movement based on what one or two dodgy unions have done.

          • Not really. Once they get to a certain size the elected officials cannot be elected without cronyism and electioneering, which means that there is necessarily a culture of favours for favours. I don’t disagree that unions are started with the best of intentions – protecting the worker – and still serve this purpose, but power corrupts. The only question is how much. I’m sure there are some virtuous union officials around, but when they are essentially run like political parties, it is tough to survive if you don’t ‘play the game’.

          • I have to agree with you about unions. Whilst in theory I love the idea of unions, too many times they arnt effective. I know 2 people who have been members of a union and when they really needed them to help againt an unfair employer they did nothing. They tried to claim they couldnt do anything and that it wasnt their problem. A friend of mine also works for a union and has found the same thing with her company.

            Theyre more like insurance companies. Theyll happily take your money (member fees) but when you need a payout (ie help) theyll do anything to get out of it.

          • As it’s no longer letting me respond to your reponse, may I ask what bad experience you have had with unions that has lead you to think this way?

            Not trolling, I respect your opinion, I’m just curious. I can only speak from my personal experience as a member and volunteer of a union, and those experiences have not been as you described at all.

          • I was thinking about the Health Services Union in particular, but I’ve been witness to a union election campaign or three where the participants couldn’t give a toss about issues beyond crass populism – they spent their time trying to smear the other participants and other such wholesome activities. I think that when you get into the upper echelons of any organisation, be it unions, corporations, government or whatever, you find that the psychopaths tend to dominate with a ‘win at any cost’ attitude. Human nature I guess. If you are in a union that is putting member interests first then that’s a good thing.

          • Clearly you haven’t been briefed – Unions are unAustralian and only contribute to uncompetitive working conditions. Just ask our Glorious Leader.

            Only commies and socialists want to unionise, scum who oppose those paragons of integrity and virtue who run our businesses.

  • Terribly horrible stories thats for sure. But Id be careful with that first one. It edges closely to associating EB with a sex crime…

    • I think it’s kinda wrapped up by the end of the article but it does tend to trail off at the start with a bit of ambiguity….. then comes back to it.

    • Just to clarify. I believe it happened and I sympathise fully with her. I saw HEAPS of dodgy shit working for 18 months with Cash Converters in the late 90s. I hope it all works out for her, I just dont want this p.o.s company getting any upper hand.

      • *nods* Pretty much just stopped short of telling her ‘she really really wanted it’ didn’t they.

        • Surprised they didn’t try the old “You were asking for it – look at what you’re wearing!” *point at her EB uniform*

    • If it’s related to an EB corporate event, it is an HR matter. That’s not saying they are either culpable or liable, but they do need to at least need to respond to it.

      • EB Games is one of the few companies of that size out there, that believe it or not, has no internal HR department. They prefer things to be worked out on a store level or by area managers etc. It’s not unheard of for this to be done, but in this case it seems it may be in place to simply avoid responsibility. I kid you not. But if a rape has occurred, it’s a matter for the police first and foremost, not HR which can come later. I don’t blame her *at all* but I’m really, really worried about the amount of people who have this happen who feel they shouldn’t or can’t go to the police with this sort of thing. To paraphrase a mate I showed this article to ‘No matter how cool you think a job is, it’s not worth that happening to you’.

        • I know it’s a police matter, and I agree entirely about how people don’t feel like they can go to the police.

          Given it occurred in relation to an EB event, they ALSO need to examine their processes.

    • Yeah that seemed like a really poor choice. Just because an EB Games staff member raped you, that does not mean in any way that EB Games as a business raped you.

      • @coltsbane why are you downvoting this. They were not at an EB related event, he didn’t rape her in an EB store, there’s literally no connection. If a pedophile works McDonalds and follows a kid home after his shift you can’t charge the company for the crime. The job you do is entirely irrelevant to the crime you commit in these cases.

        • Hey Geo,
          Haylee attended a corporate event, and then had a drink with another employee who was also at the event, which led to the unfortunate act. So although they as a company did not do it, an employee committed of EB did after attending their event, case law exists that could (depending on facts) make EB liable, as it was something that happened as a result of attending an event. It is a pretty grey area and lot more facts are needed. In addition to your McD’s example, that also depends on the state you are in, as NSW, Victoria etc would have OHS laws that would cover the employee, in that specific example as it is from your home – work, work – home, where something like WA is only covered for OHS when at work.
          Not trying to be inflammatory or anything. I am also sure that there are great EB stores out there as well, with great managers and employees, however there are always poor employees that are promoted beyond competence.
          The whole thing was poorly managed from EB and they really need to review selection criteria and training when they promote people. The problem for young employees when filing in Fair Work is that it will most likely cost the employee money, which they most likely do not have to fight it, if they get legal representation it will cost even more money, which can allow big companies to fight you, just to drain resources. If you have a slam dunk case you can use no win no fee lawyers. The other issue being that as a casual it is easy to be terminated. Ensuring that retail applies the Fair Work Act is something that needs a good review, as the news is also talking about appalling conditions at Grilled, and the media defending it on the basis it is a franchise small business owner. That is no exception to ignore the Fair Work Act and modern awards, employees need to get what they are entitled to.

          Sorry for the novel.

  • This is a pretty damning article and I will be following the repercussions from it very closely.
    I’ve got some stuff on back order with these guys and have been doing business with them for about 5 years. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the retail staff at my local store.

    After reading this I’m quite concerned for the staff working under this guy DiStefano. The lack of a HR department is just pathetic for a company employing 2000 people and coupled with the long hours and being underpaid it would appear that they need to sort there shit out.

    • I think ive shopped at EB maybe 3 times in the past 5 years. The place has a real stench about it I dont like. Their whole business model is based on tricking people into paying prices way above the norm and saying everything is a sale. All of this is still really surprising to me; by the fact that this hasnt come out before this… people really need to stand up for themselves and their rights.

      • Yeah the “stench” is palpable at EB. It’s like the clothing store Roger David, exact same sales focussed, high pressure environment that pushes people out the door, not to the register. It’s all just a lack of respect for your employees and the customer.

        You’re talking about it being really surprising but to me the most surprising thing is how many people in the comments say “I regularly shop at EB”! This article is damning, sure, but like you said, they’ve been famously overpriced for a decade now. How have people not cottoned on to this yet?

        It doesn’t matter that you can get price matches, the company’s lack of respect for your intelligence as a consumer, the fact that you have to specifically ask them “actually can I have this at the price every other store is selling this at, rather than your inflated gouging price?”; that should make you want to shop anywhere but EB.

  • It’s absolutely illegal for them to accept free work from casuals, even if the casuals ‘choose’ to do the free hours.

    Quite apart from anything else, there are liability issues that arise when a worker isn’t officially on the clock.

    • mhmm. as a manager and whs officer this shit is scary. this stuff tanks small-medium businesses, you cannot fuck around with workplace law. another important thing to remember is that adverse action is fucking illegal.

    • You know how they go about that, though? We had workers “volunteering” unpaid hours, would sign in using their employee number, do the sales as per usual, and then they’d be deleted from the shift when payroll was due. All the sales would be traceable to them working the register but they wouldn’t be paid.
      So IF something happened and they were “working” they’d be, officially, “working”. So dodgey.

  • Yep, my memories of eb games is exactly this. My first day as a full time mgr with them, I was advised to never take annual leave, as you never know when you will be out of a job.

    • That article was also written on May 20th. So I wonder what’s happened, given Kotaku have only just produced this?

      • At a guess, I’d say Mark has been investigating since the SMH article went live. I recall someone recently asking for past and present EB staff to make contact. I think it was here on Kotaku. Could be wrong though.

  • One of the main reasons that EB have been able to get away with this sort of behavior is down to the demographic they employ i.e. gamers. I’d assume that the majority of EB Games casuals are working there as a first job. Combine that with an unfortunately low sense of worth that a lot of gamers unfortunately possess as well as diminished confidence you end up with a perfect recipe for people being taken advantage of.
    (Full disclosure: I’m an avid 30 year old gamer who also happens to have been employed by EB games in my late teens-early 20s).
    I think the article hits the nail on the head with the whole “dream-job” point and it’s easy to be highly suggestible when it feels less like work and more like hanging out with like minded friends and processing a sale every so often.
    The fact that EB games doesn’t have an HR department sounds borderline illegal and it sounds like that Mark DiStefano scum bag is only still employed by EB in order for them to not accept responsibility for the situation. He sounds like a petty individual with an inferiority complex taking advantage of casuals who don’t know any better.

    • There are parallels with positions in game development. Horribly long hours of unpaid overtime, occasional stints of not getting paid at all, all for the dubious status of working in the games industry.

      There’s a degree to which I admire people working in games development, but there’s also a degree to which I think you would have to be completely nuts to put up with it.

      The same skills and dedication will almost certainly earn you a much better-paying and stable job elsewhere. The main difference is perhaps less personal satisfaction with the finished product.

  • Jesus [email protected]*# Christ.

    That said not really surprised; there’s very little recourse for any employee in any career path to take legal action for workplace issues. It was only a matter of time before companies took advantage of that.

    One of my jobs as a contractor I worked in a role for a very large tech company, this job was classified as “permanent part-time contractor” which effectively means you work full time hours and are expected to handle full time responsibilities without sick leave, annual leave and overtime hours were rarely counted and your contract would be automatically renewed after 6 month on 3 month increments.

    This also meant that if you ever had any workplace issues you didn’t fall under the companies internal HR you had to raise it with the contracting company who were likely to pull you from the role and replace you with a new face. Needless to say my supervisor started getting abusive a few months in and I left a month after it started.

    Sadly we live in a day and age where worker’s rights are something employers can “choose” to exercise. Unless you have a fat wad of cash to pay a lawyer.

  • This explains why the staff turn around is so freaking high. And why of late I’ve noticed just the general mood of the staff serving me seems hollowed out.

    Years ago, there used to be enthusiasm but over time it became more of a forced show. It all makes sense now.

  • I can confirm this is the environment.

    I worked in distribution for them for a while and we had numerous times where they would use unscrupulous tactics here in south australia to get competing stores in trouble and out of business.

    I watched them take down mom and pop stores like netc, CC and a few others from the old days here by calling in favors with suppliers to have NDA’s left out of boxes as well as sell date lists.

    They would then send in people to buy copies of games before release date which how is a mom and pop shop gonna know about this? especially if the con note and release date sheet is missing, then go straight to the publisher and blame the shop to get their releases through the distributor penalized.

    Once most of their competition was out of the way they knew they having a duopoly with JB hifi for many titles that bigw and target were not going to do, they could let a street date break, especially on bad titles, clear the stock before word got out the game was bad, do a good faith returns but they’ve already made their money, and forced the copies back on the publisher.

    Extremely hostile environment.

    To add to all this we’ve also a family friend who scored a job with them at a westfield in west sydney, got marched through the interview there to quote her “past a bunch of great guys who knew a lot more than me, had more experience” had a store manager stare at her for 30 seconds before offering her the job. In her 2 years there again was exploited for free work, constant sexual harassment.

    Received bad online reviews from customers and had the balls to stand up to her boss who was berating her over this, and then dropped the line on her “you were only hired because we knew you’d sell better than a guy with a brain.”

    We’ve also had another friends daughter work at the city cross shop in Adelaide, got hired at 16, endured constant sexual misconduct at both city shops, we told her what happened to our friend in sydney and we got told it was like this at every shop she had worked at, she would constantly get “expected” to work late shifts and midnight releases and never see pay for it.

    She finally packed it in after a couple of male employees made moves on her and she took it up with the so called only decent manager she knew, who told them “shes with him” and then watched them turn on the other female staff.

    When she noticed the environment was not being fixed she took it up the chain to defend the other girls and even defend a guy being harassed there, she then got a call from the ‘decent’ manager informing her he had no more hours for her….

    • Man, sounds like people need to carry recording devices when they work at EB Games. There’s a good app for phones called Express Dictate that I used when my previous boss was bullying me. You’re allowed to secretly record conversations that you are a party to in order to protect your legal rights as long as it is not intended for publication (at least in NSW). Section 7(3)(b)(i) of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW).

      • They have always been a terrible company, even in the states. I’ve been an avid gamer my whole life and this particular store I applied to about 9 years ago didn’t hire me because, and I quote, “there was a cute girl who applied and we have to get more girls in. ” the girl was my friend who was shotgunning apps at any place… she also knew nothing of video games. Never played one in her life!

        For the next few years she would be harassed, threatened and pressured to get a preorder quota and sell those stupid “strategy guides”. She was give the carrot dangle for management but she had to up her preorders and other sales on crap people didn’t want. She always meet the quota (called in favors from friends. I’d go and preorder like 10 games and a week later I’d cancel with someone else). Either way, that place is always bad news. They lost many business years and years ago.

    • I worked in distribution for them for a while and we had numerous times where they would use unscrupulous tactics here in south australia to get competing stores in trouble and out of business.

      I was friends with the GameTraders owners at Browns Plains and Forest Lake before they went bust (the stores, not the business). They were really nice people. However, I was present in store once when they broke street date on a game and someone from the Browns Plains EB Games at Grand Plaza, literally started yelling at them, having walked in dressed in casual clothing. They went off their NUT at them, after clearly coming in, browsing for a while, asking if the game was out etc etc. Apparently they were dobbed in and had a penalty enforced upon them (I have no idea what). So, after that, Gametraders decided breaking street date wasn’t worth it.

      SO, to get to the point, this didn’t stop EB Browns Plains back then (we’re talking 5 or 6 years now), continuously ringing companies like EA etc accusing GT of selling games early (they didn’t). I was in store again, at least twice as I was attending Tafe across the road and spent my lunch hours there, when we would see EB staff in casuals, walk in, ask for games etc, or they’d get reps come into store and flat out accuse them of these actions that they didn’t do. The EB of course never got brought to task for this bullshit, but Gametraders business ended up suffering immensely. They sold their business to some other guy (a nice guy but I was finished Tafe by then and didn’t go to that store much) and when I saw them around a year or so ago by chance at Forest Lake, they told me that quite simply, they were driven out of business by them with bullshit, lies and shady tactics.

      • what broke my heart is in adelaide dave the owner of NETC gave me my start, my first ever job.

        He worked his ass off with blood sweat and pain and ended up being the only shop in the suburbs (this is back when suburban electronics shops were still a thing, but a relatively new thing). He fought off the two mainstays in the area who used to pull the girl at the mechanic routine on everyone, sell games that were 2 years old for above RRP etc and he only got where he was by being a decent human being and not screwing people.

        He finally starts getting taken seriously in the area and treated well by the publishers and then EB games opens up at tea tree plaza, he doesnt fret as he checks them out, he’s the same as them on game prices (if you came in and your nice he’d normally bump another $10 off the game).

        Their hardware selection is terrible so he’s got them outclassed on that and he’s doing ok on games for a small business on his own.

        This chugs along for a while everyone is happy, even a lot of eb staff have their pc’s built with him.

        Diablo 2 then comes out, his offsider goes and picks up the box, gets back, dave comes back to work and his offsider is like some guy came in asking to pre-order diablo 2, even offered money down for it.

        Dave replies to his offsider…. that’s dodgey we don’t wanna take someons money for something we don’t have yet, tell them we can hold it when we get them in to guarantee he gets one, put him down for another order, or if he’s really desperate I guess we can take a $10 deposit (he hated the concept of pre-orders saw it as theft).

        Same guy comes back in keeps trying to hand them money for a copy of diablo 2, dave keeps saying he thinks the release date isnt until the upcoming thursday, digs through the box can’t find the release date listings, the guy keeps tryna hand them money, dave is like sorry mate ill gladly hold one for you, soon as I find out the release date you can come grab it.

        20m later another guy comes in and tells them EB is already selling it and so is myer, so dave rings up distribution who don’t confirm the date but tell him if myer and eb are selling it he can too.

        Sells the guy a copy, rings the other guy to let him know he can pickup a copy.

        Not an hour later gets the most abusive phone call from the publisher telling him he’s being penalized for future releases for breaking street date. Finds out later from one of the kids who’s pc’s he built who worked at EB that they called in favours with the distributors to have paperwork lost from boxes (which they denied it was lost), then sent casuals around to any shop selling it other then them berrating them and trying to force them to take money (back then the notion of pre-orders was iffy and they even used taking money for a game as a break of streetdate).

        Dave then finds out, the two boys who came in after the game…. were both working for EB tea tree plaza.

        You’d think hey maybe Dave is to blame for this….. calls up the distributor tries to have an honest chat with them, and he goes look its happened in future can I get electronic copies of the release dates as it was not a common thing to email them back in those dialup days, so that gets sorted.

        Command and conquer renegade comes out in 2001 I think…. he’s been dealing with having all these games ordered in, only to then find all these people ‘holding’ copies for release turn out to be fakes put down by EB tea tree plaza so he gets stuck with more copies of a game that he cant sell in release week. Renegade gets delivered, he knows the street date, gets word an hour later 3 days before release when he starts ringing his customers that he’s had a bunch of dummy orders placed again.

        He then finds out EB just decided to break street date, has a laugh at first thinking they’l get in trouble with the distributor, he then gets an angry phone call from them as apparently he’s been dobbed in for breaking street date. Shows them his sales invoices and all the copies still in stock…. he’s told freeze all transactions until an investigation has been conducted.

        2 days after release he’s told he’s now allowed to sell copies of the game again. He ends up being stuck with 6 crates of a game which he’s only had 3 crates of orders for, EB never got into trouble over it.

        So from that point on out dave had to stop doing holds, which meant he had to shrink orders in case of a similar thing happening, and jump on games that were selling out quick to meet demand, this became extremely problematic as big releases he couldn’t just order heaps in, as just to screw with him tea tree plaza would break streetdate, blame him again, he’d get more penalties such as reduced order size or late delivery.

        He got to a point where thanks to EB screwing him he just couldnt do games anymore.

        2004 when game addiction opened up eb games did the same thing to him until he went out of business.

        It’s really sad when good hard working people you know get screwed out of business by shady tactic and a ‘boys club’ where they are set to lose the game from the get go, back in the golden day of Metro games (a big distributor) this kind of behavior was not only unethical, it would result in mass firings. As soon as exclusivities, pre-orders and vivendi were well in their stride the notion that making it on your merits and good business seemed to be out the window.

        Now we’re at a point where you’ve got half the staff of one company afraid to talk in public about their wages being taken, how working for free is ok (it never is unless its a charity or volunteer service), or how because it didnt happen to them and they had a great time it must be wrong.

        The thing i’m finding more sickening then screwing your staff and screwing others out of their livelihoods and incomes, even if the sexual assault is not proven, how dare people play the it was outside of work.

        Even at woolworths who are just as bad sometimes, or at other employers, if there is even a hint of sexual misconduct on company time or not, (corporate and company events are still pretty much counted as company time) it still reflects the company culture, and the fact its been over 24 hours and they have not made one comment condemning it if it has happened shows a disservice to their employees and its a slap in the face to sexual victims everywhere.

        Woolworths have had several employees in the same situation, standard practice in there and most other work places is the victim must immediately be offered counselling, even if unproven, the person involved in it and anyone who knew about it and did not act are to be relieved of duty pending investigation, yes this opens the system up to exploitation but unfortunately thats how it has to go.

        The fact they are playing the we didnt know about it card, when there are staff that knew about it, well the first place to start is sacking the employees who knew about it, it all falls under workplace safety, but i’ve got a heavy feeling a lot of people knew a lot and this goes a lot further.

        There was a scandal like this a while ago at a law firm we dealt with, everyone knew about it yet everyone didnt know anything. When the police investigated they found that everything was handled off the records.

        Where is this law firm now?…… it’s been destroyed and as most of you know the one i’m talking about no one who worked for them gets hired anywhere now…

  • This might be the only article here that has ever made me feel physically ill whilst reading it.
    I feel like revoking my EB World card right now… just disgusting.

    • I just cancelled all of my pre-orders for this coming release season, and will have them delete my account in the next few days. We can’t enable institutional abuses of human rights like this.

  • If someone from EB games (management) is reading his, note: you will not be getting my business until such time as you clean up your act… and can prove it.

    Further, I will tell all my friends.

    Not sure there is any other way I can take action.

    • Hashtag time man!!! Smash twitter like #BetterPSN
      #MakeEBAccountable
      #EBareBad
      #UnfairAtEb ??? Some on Hashtag it up!!!

      • heh … is it wrong that because I’m old I didn’t undertsand a word of that? 🙂

        • Don’t know your level of knowledge so sorry in advance if I cover content you already know.

          A hash tag is often a means to show a trend (and even search for Tweets (posts) of a required topic) by specifying the # symbol followed by a short acronym or phrase.

          In some cases it is a good way of getting the initial attention to start the ball rolling but still needs the topic raised via better avenues given how social media these days is more anti-social than social.

  • If this article’s been in the works for a while, I finally get the hate from @markserrels toward EB in previous posts. Time to start importing all my collector’s editions!

  • Wow…. this utterly smashes EB. They…. HAVE to respond to this.
    Im a level 4 at EB and seriously debating NOT buying from there anymore…..

  • EB as a whole are bottom of the barrel – I’ll add my two cents.

    Coming from a former Video Games Retail Position, EB’s practices are disgusting.

    – I Remember I was banned permanently from the Bendigo Store – Manager (Mick) for making a formal complaint to EB Head Office. – I Traded a Brand New in Shrink Wrap game in and was charged a $7 disc repair upon trade in – Loosing $7 off my trade, The staff member basically ripping the customer off to manipulate their KPI’s.

    Had another situation where a friend traded in an Xbox 360 console – He decided to reverse the transaction that day as he changed his mind and EB had already sent the console away to their head office- Breaking Victorian Trade Law : 7 day hold on premises commitment.

  • A lovely employee at the forest lake store quit in tears a week ago. Said she was tired of being abused by staff and employees. Wonder if this craps happening in Qld too…

    • I used to live in Forest Lake, and there were a few younger girls there that were always really friendly the few times I went in.

        • I lived in Laricina Circuit for a couple of years. Was at the shopping centre most weekends – usually in the LEGO section of Target (not that they ever had anything).

          • Hah had friends that lived near the corner of Laracina lol. Probably saw you around there, as we were there frequently.

    • Thats just crap the manager and staff at Forest Lake are fantastic. Jessie the manager treats her staff with respect.

  • The carrot dangle for a promotion happened to a friend of mine.

    She was promised a managers position that was coming up in a few months, she worked more hours, increased sales and started taking on managerial tasks to get herself ready.

    The week before the old manager was leaving they hired his girlfriend to replace him.

    She quit on the spot.

    • In a universe that had any justice in it, that would’ve bothered them. Or at least mildly inconvenienced them enough to make them regret their decisions.

      I guess there’s the solace that it was probably the best decision for her.

  • “With regards to unpaid overtime, all casuals are paid for the hours they work including midnight launches. If casuals are working for “free” this is not something that is being asked of them by the company.”

    Well, EB shouldn’t have an issue back-paying all the unpaid overtime that has happened then. In fact, most companies would put in place a policy where staff are not allowed to work unless they are “clocked on”, if only to avoid situations like this.

    In any case I don’t expect EB to change their ways. The industry as a whole takes advantage of people, everyone want’s to be in the Video Games industry, look at how developers/publishers treat people in “crunch time”, the allegations against EB here, just how replaceable almost every positions in in that industry, unless you’ve got some unique and specialised skills, you’re going to get fucked over.

    It will be interesting to see what EB’s response to this article is. There’s some pretty damning allegations here, that really need a response from EB. I for one won’t be shopping at EB until they address all these issue. I’d encourage others to do the same. I’d also encourage publishers to withdraw any exclusives from EB, or risk damaging their own reputation by association.

    • Sales, retail and hospitality. Hotbeds of workplace rights violations. Unpaid overtime, shoddy contracts, unpaid ‘trial runs’, nepotism, pressure to quit by reducing hours, management by intimidation, and claiming ignorance of the law as an excuse.

    • Dude… Seriously – BS. Do you work for EB? Sounds like a good comment at the moment. My local stores Manager was told told to do stock take from 7pm till whenever to get it done. No pay. When he resigned – no payout on holidays either. Despite having two months of them. He took his case Fair Work Trade…

    • “With regards to unpaid overtime, all casuals are paid for the hours they work including midnight launches. If casuals are working for “free” this is not something that is being asked of them by the company.”
      They are effectively covering their asses by saying they aren’t asking for staff to work unpaid hours. They are manipulating impressionable staff into working of their own accord, not the company’s, buy letting them know there will be hours docked for not capitulating

    • My manager outright told two low-level employees competing for the assistant manager position that the job would go to the person who worked the most for free, “because that’s what you’re expected to do as an AM”. Essentially, who’s the best at being exploited?
      “With regards to unpaid overtime, all casuals are paid for the hours they work including midnight launches. If casuals are working for “free” this is not something that is being asked of them by the company.”
      Fuck off they aren’t.

  • This is awful and Mark sounds like absolute scum.
    I also can;t understand how EBGames can remotely get away with this; not having a HR department and all. Also I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for non-salary staff to work unpaid, something do with workplace health and safety guidelines and liability for injury/damages.

    This article alone seriosly, SERIOUSLY, makes me want to boycott EBGames.
    I used to boycott EBGames because of there stupid pre-owned sales (and how they push them so hard since they are 100% profit for them, taking profit from pubs and devs), but got over it after a few years because I just wanted the games!
    But now, I’m genuinely reconsidering; I will keep a close eye on these events and how they unfold.

    EDIT: to be less violent and more civil; sorry knee-jerk reaction

  • I’m kinda surprised at all the “I won’t shop at EB anymore/until they change” posts.

    Who the hell still shops at EB Games in 2015?

      • Between JB, importing (both Xbox One and PS4 are region free) and OZ Bargain, I have no clue why people still shop there.

        The ONLY reason I can think of is when they’re pricks and get exclusives. So for example, the ONLY way to get the Metal Gear Solid PS4 console is from EB, but even then, sometimes that’s timed. I bought the Majora’s Mask n3DS XL from EB because it was exclusive. Didn’t know that it was a timed exclusive though.

        You can buy them from JB now too. Spewing I gave this company my $250.

        • For ME even though im a PC user, EB Games is the only gaming store in the area. There is a small geek shop that sells console games, but its more catering to to general geek themes ( anime, Doc Who, games etc)

          • If you’re a PC user you could easily be using steam sales, gog sales, gmg sales and related services.
            If the internet is not your thing you can get cheaper PC games from ozgame still, zavvi and probably amazon too.

          • oh i do most of the buying online, but if i want a physical collectors editon of a game 9 times out 10 i cant get it online so ive got to order it from the EB games store in Nowra

        • I used to boycott EBGames due to their pre-owned games and the way they pushed them. I maintained this successfully for a good 4 odd years. At the start of this year I felt the urge to get a 3DS, so I impulsively bought a console and a few games from EBGames; after that I just kept going back to get more games because I could have them then and there.

          I really think the main reason is convenience; JB HiFi tend to have a lot less variety than EBGames, and any other place you have to wait for it to ship.

          After reading this though, I’m thinking of screwing the convenience and go back to boycotting them lately; I’ve purchased a couple of games off eBay recently and have concluded that despite any problems with EBGames, this is a better way to shop; It’s cheaper, and because I know I will be waiting a few days/weeks for my games, I spend more time researching and planning my purchases, rather than just buying something because it has a pertty ‘SALE’ sticker on it.
          Combine this with EBGames pre-owned BS, and now these allegations in the article, I’m really hating myself right now for ever going back…

    • Agreed, their prices even on pre-owned games are pretty ridiculous. And I no longer bother with pre-orders or collector’s editions.

      Still, this sucks all round for the employees, there are some pretty rubbish retail jobs out there but EB sounds like it’s actively trying to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

    • I do because I always take advantage of their trade in promotions and returns policy. I’ve spent $150 there in the last 3 years and have “bought” 30-40 games.

  • Holy fucking shit.

    Hey… EB people or anyone else who even suspects their workplace isn’t treating them right? Go here:
    http://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/protections-at-work

    The ombudsman can and will give you anything from basic to specific advice, and point you in the right direction if your situation doesn’t fall under their jurisdiction.

    When you work, you have rights at work. They are not ‘bonuses’, they are not things you sign away for job security… they are rights.

    • It would be nice if those rights were actually enforceable in many cases (though, in these cases, action probably can be taken. In many retail (and hospitality/service) workplaces, everyone except the manager is employed casually, and for short enough periods or on sufficiently transient rosters so no claim can be made against adverse action. When new workplace laws are wheeled out, outlining that employees (including casuals) can refuse “unreasonable” overtime or shifts on public holidays, I laugh – it’s total BS – you would have to be an amazing worker the rest of the time if refusing work doesn’t ultimately result in losing shifts into the future.
      Maybe the generation X’ers that should start making their way into power soon will be able to remember working in these environments and actually do something productive with workplace law.

      • This is true, but the ombudsman isn’t stupid. Fines – HEAVY fines – have been handed out in the past for abuse of casual employment rights. It’s more common in hospitality than retail, and small/medium business than large corporate, but the ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission (and their State equivalents – relevant in safety considerations such as working extended hours without breaks) are realists.
        Complaints against businesses add up, and where the corporate culture is slippery, stings are undertaken.

        It’s not a perfect system and it won’t serve everyone all the time, but it’s the only recourse beyond letting the bastards get away with it.

        • My experience is that the FWO will do everything they can to get rid of those complaining. Not out of malice, just because it’s far easier to maintain their cred by taking out a farm for sham contracting than it is to take on a company with enough money to defend themselves.

          I’ve decided to pursue the matter myself, the FWO simply doesn’t give a damn.

          • That’s a shame. I’ve had the opposite experience with friends and family. One friend who was being exploited by a hospitality business with regards to unpaid hours, an unpaid ‘trial’ period, and limited number of hours. Another was a family member who the Ombudsman assisted with an unfair dismissal, resulting in a payout and punitive actions against the employer. And there are numerous – hundreds of – cases of similar being taken up and pushed to a resolution.

            http://www.afr.com/news/policy/industrial-relations/thousands-of-restaurant-and-cafe-workers-underpaid-12m-20150624-ghw5n2 has a good piece on this, in that it includes some criticism of the Ombudsman by Business interests, which have some merit. (Although what they show – to my mind – is that the FWO is also running a long game.)

            It could be that you got a flawed human in your case… or it wasn’t winnable.

    • Getting a job and your rights as an employee needs to be a Y7-VCE class. The amount of kids who come out of school and work for free because some sleazy asshole tells them that’s how it works is insane.

      Although it’ll never happen. The subject would have to cover how to handle unemployment, disability benefits, etc and then the class will be simplified and attacked as ‘dole bludging 101’.

      • Getting a job and your rights as an employee needs to be a Y7-VCE class. The amount of kids who come out of school and work for free because some sleazy asshole tells them that’s how it works is insane.

        Don’t know about there being a whole class, but I hope it’s still covered. My class mates and I were taught such things back in Year 7 but this was back in the dark ages (90s) so I don’t know what VCE students are being taught now.

        Heck, the teacher we had taught us not only with gusto but also had role play sessions putting us though the textbook examples and even threw in some of his own.

        • I think the broader subject of employment and workplace skills is enough for an ongoing class, or at the very least a semesters worth of another class each year. I’m not sure how it is now, but in the mid-90’s we occasionally did things like writing CVs and junk, at one point we filed for TFNs, I’m sure at some point someone explained your boss isn’t allowed to grab your dick without permission, but we didn’t really get into the real world stuff and we didn’t dwell on it for very long.
          I mean we wrote CVs but we didn’t learn how interview processes work, how to properly contact potential employers, how to setup interviews. Essentially we learned the format for a list of stuff we’ve done and that we should give it to someone who works there when we apply for a job. We didn’t learn what overtime is or the rules about getting paid. Nobody explained buying uniforms, minimum wage, that doing the job for free for a month isn’t part of the interview, etc. Everyone figures it out eventually, but it leaves the young work force open to exploitation. Especially in fields like retail and food service where kids are often expected to just be happy they’ve been given the job in the first place.

  • This is some of the best journalism I’ve seen. Fantastic work by MARK SERRELS exposing EB Games for their dishonest practises. I really hope something good comes out of this for the poor poor girl and the other people.

  • The truth of the matter is that they continue to be 50-60% of gaming retail here in Australia. Their share has grown over the past 2 years. Due to this, they continue to get access to exclusive items/skus and deals that will mean they maintain this dominance in the Australian gaming landscape. Articles like this, whilst uncovering what we all really know (and just sickening to read), wont change the fact of how succesful they are unless people starting voting with their wallets.

    • From what I understand, they also have the buying power of parent US company Gamestop behind them, and have benefited greatly from the mismanagement of the GAME chain that shut down four or five years ago.

      • True- there are some global exlcsuives/partnerships that extend from Gamestop over to here.
        GAME were largely irrelevant in Australia -lots of noise for very little return (based on on a shop front count).
        All one needs to do is see the week on week sales data to get an understanding of how big of a retailer they are here (from a gaming standpoint). Its bordering on scary. If Target, Big W, Dick Smith pull out of gaming (like KMart, Toys R Us etc have) it would be scary proposition for us as consumers – a 2 horse race is good for nobody

    • I wonder how this will actually affect them if it gets to be a big story… as I think most people will boycott a store that mistreats its people.

  • This is a great article Mark. I hope this makes a difference and some good comes of all this. I bet Mark DiStefano is having a real bad day.

  • I used to work at eb for awhile, loved it at first but some of the staff really creeped me out with the remarks they would make about the customers after they left.

    I expect that happens a lot with most retail places though.

  • What is this bullshit article? So much dishonestly and blatant misinformation and lies in this article. Will be officially complaining both to Kotaku and external bodies. Disgusting rubbish.

  • I was an assistant manager at EB and worked with Mark about 10 years ago. If this is the way he is now, he has changed…a lot. He was really friendly to everyone at the time, and didn’t seem the type of person that would give that kind of abuse. But i guess working that long at EB would change him.

    i agree with the comment of not having enough hours to run the store properly. i remember at the start of the June sale, the store manager took 5 weeks leave, leaving me to run the store with 40 hours less. i didn’t care though. head office wasn’t pleased that i was charging and 60 hours per week more than was allocated to us for the sale. our customers were happy though.

  • scam artists, I Never want to go into a EB games. sadly its the only place for steam credit gift cards around here. their business practice is worse than a street drug dealer.

  • Was a loyal customer since the launch of the PS2. Loyal. Before that I would shop wherever. And after buying hardware that was clearly second hand but sold as new, I had enough.

    After dealing with staff with zero knowledge of the industry and retail in general, I’ve only ever returned to EB for trade-ins and taken cash.

  • I have been a patron of one of the Tas stores since the late N64 days on and off.
    Back then the staff were great, knew me and even gave me some really good deals.
    I was the first to pre-order a Gamecube through them and got to the front of the line at the mid night launch.

    The manager there was really good and got promoted to some sort of regional manager position on the mainland. He was a top buy and his name wasn’t Mark.

    I still pop in and pre order some of the amiibo’s I’m after and get will sometimes price match games. I think it’s good to support a store that caters to the gamer audience. I really like the other gaming merch they’ve started carrying as well.

    This article though, it really paints a pretty bleak picture of what things are like behind the scenes. I’m pretty conflicted about shopping there. Although it’s the only place to get some exclusives. I’ve already got a premptive pre order on Zelda for WiiU in case a special edition is announced and I dropped a spare $10 on the NX just for the heck of it after I heard it was in their system.

    Conflicted….

    • nooooo. just…dont preorder and if you have the willpower – forget the “exclusives”.

      Kotaku has written multiple times on this issue. and its a real ISSUE. Pre-ordering and exclusives is a terrible business practice and will and has effected us as consumers.

  • Never had this problem working at GAME. Best job I ever had, shame that it went into liquidation.
    It sucks that EB doesn’t have any rivals that provide exclusives like theirs. I feel so sorry for these employees, almost makes me want to boycott it anyway. I always had a feeling that the conditions were like that anyway, people don’t last long there.

    • I am sad also, GAME was a way more friendlier store than any of the EB Games stores I visited.
      Not to mention you had great deals on new releases on par with JB Hifi. EB just charged you the full amount plus extra

    • Man, you must have worked at GAME in a different state to me, far before they headed to bankruptcy. I was there right before the end, and it was literally the most disgusting job I had ever had, but to be fair, that was probably more to do with the terrible staffing than the company (I’m talking cockroaches kept sealed in coffee cups in the sink of the stock/break room – on purpose).

      • You definitely got a crappy GAME store. The two TAS stores were boss to work at, with some of the coolest guys and gals.

  • EB sounds just like Games Workshop. There’s been numerous threads on various forums with ex GW employees talking about their time with the company and it sounds the same. I think it is the fact that they know their employees think they are working in an industry they like. With GW I remember stories of it being mandatory for employees to do unpaid work painting store armies and the being threatened with how easily replaced they are.

    • Might be different now. GW can’t easily replace employees because hardly anyone buys GW anymore (at the prices they charge).

      • A lot of the kids that do play love it though. They’ve just moved in to smaller stores out of malls and most are run by one person now

  • Going to management to put it on the record is fine, but they’re not the person to go to in order to take action. Everyone involved is employed by the same company but that doesn’t make it some sort of office prank. No matter how nice your manager is they’re always going to factor their job and the companies priorities into the response. They have legal obligations but they’re always going to want to resolve it without causing waves and keep it all internal because even the simplest attempt to deal with it properly will explode into something huge.
    More often than not you’re going to hear all the stuff you really don’t want to hear when you talk to them. ‘Well, it’s your word against his’. ‘You were drinking, are you sure you didn’t lead him on or go with it and regret it later?’. All that awful shit. Not because they think you’re a liar or they hate women, but because they’re in way over their head and convincing you to just drop it is the only way this ends without all hell breaking loose for them.

    • So in other words, they willfully disregard their fiduciary duties to their staff in order to save their own asses?

      • Yes. This is what happens.

        It’s not Right by any means, but you must understand it, expect it, and be willing to push past it.

      • Just to clarify I’m not saying they’re all pure evil and willing to break the law to protect their own asses, although a lot of people will in this situation, just that they’re always going to be attracted to the quiet resolution. If you say ‘I don’t think anyone will believe me’ it’s in their best interest to reply ‘well, we can put off making a formal complaint until Monday, and you can go home and have a think about whether or not you want to go through with this’.
        That sounds like decent advice but regardless of how the person offering it intended the statement it does three things. It validates your concern that you should be weary of taking action, it makes you feel like you’re going to locked in to this path if you continue on Monday, and it pushes you to reconsider the decision you’ve already made (you came to them as part of an attempt to take action, not to decide whether you should put more thought into it).
        They may not even be aware that they’re doing it because from their perspective they’re just asking to make sure that you’re sure before things get set in motion. Hell, I sort of feel sorry for them too. Given how EB treat their employees and track stats having a big ‘I had to resolve a rape situation’ mark on your record is probably a death sentence. Just like there’s always another kid who wants to work with games there’s a ton of people who want to be managers who don’t have sexual assault written on their file.

        I’m also not saying don’t get help I’m just saying get proper help from someone who doesn’t benefit from you just pretending it never happened.

    • Because the nearest jb is 100km away while there are 3 eb games within 30km. But after reading this article I won’t be going into any of those eb stores again (and I’ve just sent a message to eb telling them that).

  • If you EVER have a manager yelling and throwing things and tearing down displays while threatening you, they are very likely committing a crime.

    More links: https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/criminal-offences/violent-behaviour
    You don’t have to make physical contact with someone to be charged with a violence-related offence. Placing a person in fear that you will be violent towards them can also be an offence, including:
    * threatening to harm someone
    * being physically intimidating, such as standing over someone.
    It does not matter whether you intend to harm the other person or not, as long as you intend them to believe that you will.

    The behaviour described in the article would lead a reasonable person to believe that their safety could be at risk, and a police report could be filed. Security footage would be made available to police on their request (with a warrant) as part of their investigation. It cannot be withheld from them. That is not a civil matter, it is a criminal matter. If they lie about it (which they are likely to), they will only be digging a deeper hole for themselves through obstruction.

    What is of real importance here is not whether your report leads to a conviction. What matters is that it goes on record. The next time this behaviour occurs and police respond, they will have that record, that prior history. It’s what’s called being ‘known to police’.

    At the very least, it will make them aware that the physical size and responsibility that comes with being an adult means they can no longer behave like a child throwing a tantrum, that their actions carry weight… and consequences.

    • EB has another ball in their court here though; while I’m not sure if it’s the same in all stores nationwide, it’s true of all the stores I’ve been into: they don’t have security cameras. I once asked why not, considering there is so much high-value stuff in there to steal, and was told it had something to do with privacy in one of their agreements.

      Frankly what better way to, say, hide the fact that staff are there at hours which they aren’t being paid for…?

  • I am absolutely disgusted by this and look forward to the class action that will result, with several breaches of IR and WHS/OHS legislation I genuinely hope that they are nailed to the wall for what they have done, and Mark DiStefano is a despicable man who deserves the retribution he will no doubt endure.
    Will not EVER step into an EB store ever again.

    • To be fair, I’ve been in that situation and it is difficult to know when such an incident will occur. You are left recording *everything* all the time because once an incident starts there is usually no time to get your mobile phone out and recording (at least not without alerting the wrongdoer).

      • yeah, completely understand, but when one person is been abused, with all the hours they are working, there should be at least 1 other person around that can record for them

  • I just really hope for the best for the staff current and ex that have been bullied and mistreat while working there.

    Also hope Kotaku Aus continues looking into this matter.

  • *Takes EB games off the application list*

    Alright, looks like I might have to try at JB Hi-fi again…

    • You were planning on looking for work there?

      If this article is to go by, @markserrels has just saved you a lot of abuse.

    • JB Hi Fi is far better than EB, as far as their gaming department goes. It’s hard work, and often understaffed, but overall much better.

          • The cheaper alternative is a few facial piercings….and you’re good to go. OR it’s acceptable if you’re an arts or music student at uni or JMC. However, being a student is generally more expensive than a sleeve of tattoo’s.

  • The unpaid hours thing is pretty much retail in general.

    When I worked in fast food on close shifts, if we got too busy and couldn’t do our close down procedures in time we were pressured into clocking out when our shift was supposed to end, then finishing off our work (sometimes an hour or two later). Or if we didn’t clock out the manager would alter the clocking times.

    I doubt it was a company policy, just managers trying to make their numbers look good. In the end I was pushing back, refused to clock out early and made notes of my clocking times so if the manager changed them I would go to the store manager and get them adjusted back. Funnily enough my hours weren’t cut because of this, and the store manager told the other managers to stop messing with my pay because they were sick of having to fix it. Maybe I just got lucky, I mean I was good at my work but anyone is replaceable. I was also a union member (I never used them but liked having them as a backup plan)

    Life is too short to work for free when your pay isn’t very much to begin with.

    • with the managers adjusting of clock on times, that would fall under fraud, which if it ever came to light would not bode well for the company.

    • I honestly think your Union membership would have played a part.
      So few people are in Unions that any member seeking help tends to draw a lot of attention to the company in question.

      Could also just be that you’re awesome?

  • I worked at EB Games in 2004. Like stated in this article, it was my dream job to work at EB Games. I basically walked straight into an Assistant Manager role which at the time I thought was too good to be true. Turned out, it was too good to be true. I was only there 3 months. I can TOTALLY understand (and confirm) a lot of the points in this article.

  • This story is really awful and sad. My local EB Games (Belconnen Mall, Canberra) is staffed by lovely, helpful people who obviously love gaming and I’ve always enjoyed going in there. I hate to think that they’re being badly treated and underpaid.

  • EB games has always and will ever be an overcharging and unsatisfying place to shop.

  • Great write up Serrels, hope EB actually upholds their supposedly ‘ zero tolerance on bullying and harassment’ which sounds nonexistent so far, in the face of this shitstorm. Won’t be buying there when I can help it, in fact, I’m going to go and preorder some games at JB HIFI right now just because of this.

  • Yo. It’s all well and good for us to boycott, but how many parents, grandparents or kids are totally unaware of all this and thus will continue to shop at EB, making them the juggernaut they are?

    • It needs to be on one of those hideous shows like Real Life of A Current Affair or some such junk; those people always watch them.

  • It sucks for these people who’ve copped this, but it’s certainly not just EB where this is happening.
    I’d have thought that there would be some type of union for this kind of business? SDA or something?

  • A hundred years ago, I had a boyfriend who was the assistant manager at EB Games. It was not uncommon for me to go to meet him at the end of his shift, only to have him and his manager try to (genuinely) get me to help work in the store for them because they were running behind on closing duties.

    • A hundred years ago, I worked in a couple places where ‘the culture’ convinced me to help out after hours for free. Would, and did.

      I lost count of the number of times we’d clock off and sit around talking shop, strategizing, planning, answer the problems the juniors hurried over with, before someone would say, “Why are we standing around here like chumps? Let’s take this upstairs to the bar.”

      They didn’t ask us to do it, and we didn’t ask to be paid for it. It was just a byproduct of an energetic, well-paying environment with respect for our knowledge and expertise, giving us opportunities to do new things.

      We were a family of real friends, not just ‘work friends’. I went on to sharehouse with some of them, went to their weddings, and remain close friends to this day. And the work was a big part of our lives that we loved, and we gave that time without even thinking about it.

      The corporate culture changed to something exploitative and disrespectful and we all fell away, no longer excited but instead drained and wrung out. I didn’t even have another job lined up when I quit.

      I miss being excited to work for free. I would go back to that place in a heartbeat… if it still existed.

      • It’s funny how the attitudes of the people involved can change everything so much. One of my first bosses used to always have me doing personal tasks for him. On paper it was totally inappropriate, but because he treated me like a person and respected my workload enough to only ask when I wasn’t busy it changed the whole thing. He also had a genuine interest in helping me not just to do my job but to succeed. He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and help either.
        We’d sit around after work and there was still a clear chain of command, but we could talk about business and actually have a two way conversation. If I said something I’d get a proper response and if he said something I’d listen, we’d have a laugh, neaten up the place a little, have a snack and that’s enough to make it a conversation rather than being held back at work dealing with something.

      • I remember clocking out and working an extra 4 hours once at JB.

        It was just one of those days, but nobody asked and nobody expected it. I was helping make the day of some people I liked easier.

        If I had been asked or expected I never would have done it. On the other hand a different retail job made me wait around 4 hours to talk to a manager about leave, I refused to clock out while sitting in the break room for them.

  • Having worked at EB for a few years, 2 of those as a manager, I can say with most certainty the reports of free hours and ridiculous full time overtime are true.

    I have good memories of EB but also so many bad stories that would open a lot of eyes as to what happens behind closed doors.

  • I feel for anyone in this situation. Especially someone whose dream job is assistant manager at a retail store.

    Seriously though, the retail industry can be very rewarding, but very demanding and when there’s alleged ass wipes like the person mentioned in this article, it can put you in a terrible place. I worked in retail for almost 10 years and saw just about everything you can imagine in that time 🙁

  • Hopefully this mark distefano realizes how many people will remember his name and face, how physically inadequate he will be when someone catches up with him and also how serious his depression and anxiety will be in the future. I never liked EB anyway it always smells like sweat. What a joke. Dont work for free and dont put up with abuse, not just for yourself but for others.

  • I worked at EB for 4 years as both a casual and Assistant Manager. The store I worked at would regularly rank in the top performing stores. It is an incredibly hostile and fiercely competitive environment.

    I found myself continually questioning EB’s practises, most notably unpaid hours. We were encouraged to roster hours just under the mandatory lunch break requirement. Pay would begin and cease at the store’s opening and closing times. This isn’t much of an issue for the quieter stores, however for the larger/busier stores where tidying up would sometimes take up to 2 hours, the unpaid work really adds up. It isn’t a matter of bundling up games into neat piles and turning the lights off, there are strict guidelines to follow – certain titles on certain shelves, rows of 3.

    The worst task to be assigned was cleaning the main sale table at the front of the store — there are hundreds of different games sectioned off into different platforms with multiple copies of multiple games. There are no sectioning dividers or anything to keep relative order, so by the end of the day you literally have a mountain pile of hundreds of games. This was expected to be tidied up perfectly – platform sections and titles in their own stacks. This alone would sometimes take up to an hour. Perfectly fine if it were paid, but it is not…

    The best (or worst) example I can think of is the transformation into the mid-year sale. This is the sale with red SALE posters everywhere. The entire store is transformed. 95% of the thousands of games in store need to be restickered. Makeshift tables need to be constructed. Then the “decoration” of the store. The guidelines encourage this to be a semi-gradual transformation over the course of a number of days, but the combination of a busy store, being given minimal hours to allocate in addition to the regular number of daily tasks meant that I always found myself back for a few hours a day during this period.

  • I think it’s unfair to persecute the entirety of EB Games for what well could be a relatively isolated incident.
    I know the staff at my local EB are enthusiastic, always seem as though they are enjoying themselves, and know about the product. I don’t know their inner-workings, but if I were in a position where I was expected to work a certain amount of unpaid hours each week, I would get myself out of that situation. There is a difference between being expected to work unpaid, and staying back to help out for a bit if it were busier than expected and what not.
    I guess it also helps on the potential sexual harassment front that the manager is a woman. Sexual harassment comes down to the individual though, and again, the only thing you can hold against EB or management is how they handle it (which in this case was poorly). They didn’t exactly know they were employing a shitty person, and they’re most likely unaware if the situation unless it is bought to their attention.

    What is worth persecuting EB over however is how they handle these allegations. Not having an internal HR department is extremely questionable for one of the leading retailers in their field, as is not having a budget to cover hours…

    I’ll wait to hear the outcome of the allegations before committing to a boycott.

    Great article though.
    I would have liked some references for fact checking (not saying I don’t believe what’s been said, I just prefer to have sources that can corroborate what’s being said since they are serious accusations. You can’t believe everything), but I’m inclined to believe the article, and hope for the best outcome.

    • Matters like this are always going to be difficult to corroborate, but the fact that a whole bunch of people made a stat dec is a pretty good sign that it’s kosher.

      • Hence why I’m inclined to believe it 😉
        I just try to avoid getting suckered into believing anything and everything.

      • 5 reported incidents >of bullying< is isolated with regards to an employer employing thousands of workers.
        Don’t get me wrong, I hope that any wrong doing is justly rectified, but I’m not going to boycott the hard workers at my local store who haven’t done anything wrong over bullying that’s taken place on the literal opposite side of Australia.
        Maybe their enthusiasm is a facade, but if it were, I don’t know why they’ve stuck around so long…

        I also find it… weird… that employees would let working unpaid go on uninhibited.
        Why are we only hearing of this now?
        Not saying it isn’t true or doesn’t happen, I’m just confused as to how it has gone on without anyone saying anything before now.

        • Dude the fact is if you refuse to work unpaid you don’t get shifts. No shifts, no money. On top of that, you become an outsider, you’re suddenly getting snubbed by your fellows who are prepared to put with it, and once you give up and walk away there’s a dozen eager kids ready to take your place.

          • ^ pretty much this.
            Customers loved me working there. It was my only motivation to keep on trying.

          • The fact is >in these instances<, you mean.
            On the other side of the argument, there’s happy employees who have never been put in that position, who have spoken up also, meaning that this isn’t as far reaching as to effect every store.
            Again though, if an entire team was put in that situation on a regular basis, I still don’t know why we are only hearing of it now, or why it was allowed to continue.
            I’m not victim blaming or suggesting these aren’t serious accusations, I’m just wondering why the effected employees haven’t come forth sooner, and I really do hope it is rectified justly.

          • “Only hearing about it now” simply isn’t true. EB employees both current and former have been complaining about this for years. EB management says it isn’t true, and no one listens. Officially, no one is working off the clock. Look at any EB store after 5pm and you’ll verify that’s a complete lie. People put up with it because there’s a direct correlation between how much you out up with and how many hours you get. Cause any kind of trouble, manager doesn’t have to put you on the roster or give a reason why.

          • Unfortunately it’s just common in retail and hospitality.

            Look at that story of the girl fired from Grill’d, I worked under very similar pay conditions at a different retail store. When I complained about pay and conditions I was threatened with being fired.

            Man I wish I had unionised that chain…

    • This is far from isolated and more of a running culture in the company. Since the day I left< i have hardly every stepped foot back in a store.. I refuse to give my money to a company who abuses the trust of its staff in such a vile way.

  • I can confirm that I had to do hours of free work. My parents often waiting for me until 11pm at night.
    At 15 I was proposited by my manager several times and had no one to turn to.

  • I have worked for 2 EB Games stores in the past, and can confirm that all of the allegations regarding working for free and being threatened that you’ll lose hours or be replaced are absolutely true. The way they treat their employees is disgusting. I won’t even shop there now. They’re often more expensive than other stores anyway.

  • As a former eb staff member from new Zealand (almost 7 years, assistant manager through to store manager), I can verify the “habits” eb has in regards to part timers and casuals. They also work their managers to the bone.

    I can think of a single week where I work just 40 hours, I remember having to get “creative” with payroll, and how I managed my (very small) team. I remember the constantly hanging axe of KPI’S hanging over our heads.

    I had a lot of passion for the job, for eb. I had “ethos” in spades. You overlook a lot of the shifty stuff because aspects of the job are really good.

    But honestly, fuck them. And I encourage everybody working for them to get out.

    • I think the worst of it all was how quickly you got essentially axed over something that did nothing but benefit our customers, yet they’re stepping all over themselves to protect this Mark guy…

      Also the moment you left, how we all got treated was like night and day.

  • EB Games is not a small company.
    EB games Australia Managing Director is Steve Wilson according to Wiki. EB games is an international company with 5000+ in Australia and 33,000+ in the US.
    The parent company is GameStop and its CEO is J. Paul Raines and has 18,000 staff. There is always someone higher. Complain to the top. They wouldnt want this happening to their company. The leaders of this company would listen as there would be a HR in place for this.

  • So many emotions. When I was working a PC support gig I’d stop at the local EB practically every lunchtime I was not out on site. The manager was a good guy to talk to about stuff, I’d occasionally end up answering customer questions about games, and eventually he offered me a job, and I laughed in his face. This was 10-12 years ago and things were not as bad back then but I could already see the culture of exploitation they were developing from head office.

    I can understand why the people affected in the article want to take action, but the UNHCR is not the right place, this is clearly covered under Australian workplace laws and Fair Work are the people to contact. If the evidence is there (and I suspect it will be) they will drag EB through the courts and get you your unpaid hours.

    http://www.fairwork.gov.au/

    But most of all this is a clear case of why people still need unions. Especially people in low skilled/low pay positions.

    • I got fired from EB Games and took them to Fairwork Australia.

      Despite the fact that I was working 50-60 hours a week and got fired because I refused to come in to work earlier than I had to, I was told that my contract simply stated that I was required to be there for “…standard opening hours” with no specifications on the amount of time.

      Needless to say, my case was dismissed and EB continue to do what they do.

  • I experienced this same treatment in commercial radio. I believe this is rife within private companies. I won’t be buying from EB until they fix their disgusting practices.

  • I used to be the assistant manager at a Games Wizards (just before they were bought by Game) and our regional managers acted !ike wannabe mafia thugs. Our store repeatedly had the highest grossing sales in the country but apparently were selling the “wrong” products ie- not the latest piece of half baked shite the ad reps would insist on us flogging. Instead we told customers which games were worth buying n which were not. Seems this is considered “bad business” as i was threatened with a physical beating if i told customers that a game was crap ever again. They also hired a 17 y/o female casual “so we had some eye candy in the store to offset how pathetic us nerds were”. At an industry night the regional manager saw me talking to my friend ( a female manager of another store) and told me to “stay the fuck away from her because he had a bottle of roofies with her name on it” Told her and the members of both our stores. They all quit the next day n we all quit 3 days later, following the violence threat. 7 ppl quitting jobs they loved over 1 arsehole. Spoke to the guys at EB in the same centre (we were all pals) n they said they had the same probs. Never worked retail again.

  • The staff at both my last and current EB were good peolle. Always eager to look after their customers and both Managers treat their staff with respect (shoutout to Launceston and Kingston stores).

    I agree that some work occurs outside your regular hours, it’s necessary and often a good thing. Where it goes wrong is if the company designs their processes and kpi’s/budgets in such a way that overtime not only becomes an expectation, but a deniable one by the employer.

    You see the same thing in fields with passionate people… how many games-writers work for free for instance?

      • Good morale if you’re willing and able to help out a bit outside your roster hours.
        The problem comes from when it is considered an obligation rather than voluntary.

        I’ve been in both situations.
        An employee staying back to help out when it’s really busy, and an employer asking if someone can stay back because it was super busy (not unpaid though).
        There was never any obligation to though, it was only if you could, no hard feelings if you couldn’t, and certainly no cut-hours.
        One person staying back to help can drastically relieve stress levels on a busy day.

        • Agreed. The unspoken (or sometimes spoken) threat of reducing work hours is massive. Imagine if you are relying on getting a certain number of hours to pay the bills, and someone threatens to take that away from you if you don’t ‘participate’ in the unpaid overtime. What a difficult situation to be in 🙁

        • I’m not sure it’s ever a good thing to have a manager who can dictate hours, and as such dictate your income, be able to ask you to do extra work for free.

          There is always the implication of obligation. I guess it depends on the workplace and may have been very different in your case. I think in this case though the implication of not dong the free hours is pretty clear.

          At the end of the day though it’s not a voluteer role at a charity. It’s a business. Why should anyone work for free when the company is making money off your hard work. It’s crazy to think that a casual employee should give up time with loved ones so the likes of EB games can make a few extra dollars.

        • I shared a story from earlier where I did this unpaid once, it was something that 6 years later I still recall as something out of the ordinary and it was appreciated as such.

          However I often worked back late at multiple jobs, in fact unless I had prior plans I always would if a manager asked.

          But I always got paid for that time.

          If you need your staff to work more, pay for it.

      • Well if you hate your job, or if you work solely so you can enjoy life outside of work then yeah, probably not a good thing. I’ll always remember my Politics lecturer who described Australia as ‘a First World country with a Third World economy”. I feel very lucky to have the employment and income that I do, so I work hard for it.

        I love my job and the team I work with and I’ll work whatever hours I need to in order to deliver the best representative result I can muster. I have a young family so I try to walk that line between progressing my career (not by working OT but by delivering superior results) and being a Dad, but ultimately for me, when I put work ahead of family, I’m doing it because work allows me to raise my family and give them the life they deserve.

        My workplace has an expectation that I do the job so I do. To put the finishing touches on it (and for extra busy times, just to get shit done) I work more and don’t get paid for those hours. My choice.

        • While I can appreciate your “work more, its my choice” ethic. I see nothing here that proves that is inherently “a good thing”, and I don’t enjoy the insinuation that because I believe in fair pay for fair work I must hate work or live solely so I can enjoy life out of work (although I’ll admit to doing the latter).

          The fact is that people have indoctrinated with the idea that we owe work something, that overtime shows commitment, that helping out is part of being in the company family. The reality is that you are paid to do a certain job in certain hours, and while doing additional work outside of those hours (for fun or what have you) is certainly your prerogative – people that don’t want to do that should either be compensated fairly or allowed to leave without prejudice.

  • I’d just like to weigh in with my experience working at EB in a Western Australian store.

    I started working at the store in late early 2011 it was a brand new store and as I had experience in Managing retail stores previously getting the job there was fairly easy. I started as just a store sale’s person and spent my first few days setting the store up from scratch and helping implement key procedures and materials to help day to day running of the store.

    Why did I have to do this you ask? Well, the Assistant store manager who I was regularly rostered to work with had absolutely no experience in managing. Why I had not been offered this job initially was beyond me, I was definitely more equipped to handle the role. I later found out that the Assistant manager was friends with someone in EB WA. |

    Over the coming months my shifts began to decline, despite hitting personal kpi’s, until eventually I was not receiving any shifts, I still to this day (4 years on) have not received a letter of termination. After helping birth the store I was pushed aside and forgotten as an employee. Pushing pre-orders and scratch warranty’s is easy. No loyalty in this company at all.

    I can only assume I was too expensive for EB being as I was a 24 year old employee and 16 year old’s are much cheaper to employ.

    Great article, its cool to work here until you realize how uncool the management is.

  • I worked at EB for a little while, I have a slew of interesting stories about the place, but nothing like this ever occurred and all of my hours and the midnight launches were paid in full from the moment I arrived until Inleft. in the end I left EB because as a casual I just wasn’t getting enough hours and my other job (that gave me hours) was getting irritated that I kept asking for days off (so I could work at EB).

    Having said that, I’m not a push over, I was hired because I can look people in the eye and talk to them confidently. Had I been a bit younger with stars in my eyes and eager to please I’m sure I could have found myself in a situation where my rights were taken advantage of.

    I think back about EB workplace culture quite fondly, the company is very sales and KPI focused, it’s about selling games (and upselling), not just talking about them. But the people I worked with and met through other stores were all pretty cool and were involved in a fair bit of social events and employee benefits.

    I could bitch and moan about a few things, but in the end I don’t think this is a problem of nationwide organisation practices, rather it is individual store problems led by bad managers and staff who are unwilling to reach out for help or stand up for the self.

    • Sadly, while your anecdote is good to have in terms of balance, looking at the comments attached to this article your experience seems to be the exception and not the rule.

    • It may have been that your store was one of the better-performing stores, meaning that there was less pressure on the managers to tighten budgets. I guess managers can be replaced or stores closed if performance dips for too long. Our local EB stores just merged (Chatswood Westfield and Chatswood Chase) and I imagine that a bunch of people will be either losing jobs or suffering greatly reduced hours as a result.

  • Listen people, instead of putting up with this shit for years on end, how about just put on a stealth video recorder and collect up all the bullshit then publish it. Can tell you now, said managers will be cut down in seconds and out of a job.

    Youngsters these days…

    • They may be forced to resign but nothing would occur; breach of trust, breach of privacy, etc

    • Listen people, instead of putting up with this shit for years on end, how about just put on a stealth video recorder and collect up all the bullshit then publish it.

      Because despite the intentions, it can be classified as illegal surveillance. Just like how employers can be busted, so too can employees.

      Heads up, not a lawyer and my understanding maybe dated now.

    • Because that’s illegal, unfortunately. You’d lose everything instead of upper management.

  • this even made it in the Sydney Morning Herald with Randall’s side of the story http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/eb-games-district-manager-accused-of-bullying-employees-20150520-gh5hgm.html

    allow me to put it in Layman’s terms. a off branch of the Gamestop Inc. pretty much fucked over the employees. they are like EA but to its employees.

    “Give us your service and fuck off”

    Not being paid for overtime? fuck you, you’re not getting paid.

    Getting raped by your employer? fuck you, you’re not getting paid.

    Getting racially insulted by your employer plus making fun of disabilities and getting banned in all stores in Australia? Fuck you, you’re not getting paid

  • As a former EB Games store manager, working at high volume stores, I can tell you that none of the information in this article is a surprise in the slightest. I worked my way up from casual to manager, embraced the ‘ethos’ only to encounter some personal issues with an Area Manager which eventually led to me getting fired because I wasn’t in to work ‘early enough’.
    Never mind the fact that I was currently working 50-60 hours because of a constantly tightening payroll, nor the fact that I had been consistently working 80+ hours for years at other stores simply to keep them running.
    Whenever there were any objections, it was simply relayed that, ‘it’s just what you do’. Whenever they sense that people are beginning to get tired of being abused and exploited, that’s the moment they’ll start looking for reasons to fire you. Such was my downfall.

    The exploitation of casuals is par for the course. It is expected and I have had area managers and people higher within the company tell me this to my face. I know of a time when one casual’s parent called head office asking why his daughter wasn’t being paid for all over the extra work. She was paid, but it everyone was told to keep their mouth shut, who knew about it. EB know exactly what they’re doing and realise it’s wrong, but they’re just happy to exploit people because it helps their bottom line. Area managers require low payroll in order to collect their bonuses. The first thing that goes when an Area Manager wants their bonus is your payroll. You’re expected to simply pick up the slack.

    I have stories to burn about the unethical practices, dodgy cover ups and other shenanigans that went on in my own 5 years at EB, and I would love to share them with Mark Serrels for a follow up to this article. The things that are revealed here are incredibly tame compared to what I have experienced.

    • The bonus system was guaranteed to be exploited.
      The unethical thing about it is the free hours worked are still paid by EB – just not to the worker doing the hours, rather, to the Area Manager pressuring the workers for the free labour.

      So any thorough assessment of store metrics at the head office level would show patterns that would reveal this exploitation but, as you have said, it’s policy and creates a culture of unethical corruption endorsed by Head Office.

      This is why I left when the the workers became their KPI’s and their willingness to do free work.
      NEVER do free-work, it’s a slippery slope for you and forces your workmates to offer themselves up to the altar of free labour.

    • “I have stories to burn about the unethical practices, dodgy cover ups and other shenanigans that went on in my own 5 years at EB, and I would love to share them with Mark Serrels for a follow up to this article. The things that are revealed here are incredibly tame compared to what I have experienced.”

      ^This, I have quite a few stories to tell too.

  • As a current customer with current pre-orders in, I am cancelling everything and never spending my hard earned dollars in another one of their stores. Rape and it’s associated cover up is never acceptable.

    I hope your business whithers and dries up EB Games. You disgust me.

  • This is incredibly unfortunate and terrible situation, but ‘Haylee’ not speaking up really isn’t EB Games fault, HR department or not.

    There is always someone to talk to and she should have gone to the Police, it was a criminal act plain and simple and goes well beyond the scope of what HR would be able to handle anyway.

    Pinning this on the company seems like sensationalism, and Kotaku is benefiting from it.

    • I’m sorry her employer has a duty of care. Yes she needs to come forward but she needs to know it’s safe to do so.

      As soon as there’s any hint of this the manager should be supporting her and doing everything he can to help bring about a resolution.

      His attitude was designed to pressure her into letting it go away and forced her to keep working with her rapist.

      Let that sink in for a minute.

      But yes we need to teach people to always go to the police immediately as well.

  • G’day guys, I’m a current casual employee at EB Games – [edited out personal details – Cam]. I’ve been working here for next to a year, never had to do any unpaid hours, everything from setting up stock take etc, etc, has been completely paid for. I’ve never had any issues with any of my Regional Managers, they’ve all been amazing bosses. My manager is the only one who will ever work “Unpaid hours” they’re not even unpaid, she gets paid a pretty bloody good salary for the amount of work she does. I don’t believe 90% of this to be perfectly honest, the names of the staff members should also provide their associate numbers because this can be constructed as slander. To be perfectly honest, in our backroom, there are posters everywhere from things to do with BeyondBlue and Headspace, to an Employee support programme and number. EB’s ethos is all about the customer, however EB cares for it’s employees. This whole article is basically a huge scare tactic against potential employees. I for one think it’s absolutely ridiculous. Also, yes, I work in a rural Australian store, South-East Queensland to be precise. EB Games has been nothing but an extended family to me, in fact the pay is bloody brilliant. I work a lot, because we have 5 Employees and don’t have the wages to cover another team member unless they only wanted to work a shift a week. I work a lot, because I want bloody money, I’ve also given myself the reputation of being a reliable, hard-worker. But never, have I ever, received any unpaid hours. Ever regional manager or above I’ve ever spoken to has been hugely kind. In regards to KPI’s, they are ONLY there to increase your personal performance, to drive you to be number one in your store, I’ve been last plenty of times, and never had a call from anyone, the system is there to bring a bloody “Friendly competition” aspect to the stores you work in and it feels good to have something recognize your constant efforts to DO WELL AT YOUR JOB. If someone wants to contact me in person, regarding their treatment at EB being unfair or so on, please contact me, because I will do everything in my power to make sure it gets resolved. (Which may not be a lot but still.) I’ve met hundreds of employees outside of a work environment before and they have never had a single complaint, except the running jokes of, “I get paid to put stickers on shit.” That’s it, I for one think this article is absolute rubbish an I’m upset at the fact people are tearing down on a hugely “TEAM/FAMILY” orientated business. In fact, EB CARES SO MUCH AND APPRECIATE ALL THEIR EMPLOYEES THAT THEY GET A BLOODY 20% DISCOUNT ON ANYTHING SOLD IN STORE AND IF ACHIEVING HIGH STANDARDS OF WORK EFFORT SOMETIMES FREE GAMES! I got bloody The Witcher 3 when it was $110 retail for bloody FREE.
    Regards

    [edited out personal details – Cam]

      • Best TL:DR ever.

        This feels very much like corporate PR, “TEAM/FAMILY” orientated business” employees usually dont say things like this.

    • Firstly, I’m glad you had a positive experience. But when someone claims they have been raped and you say “that’s rubbish” you come off as a bit arrogant. Just because you have had a good experience, doesn’t mean everyone else has.

      Also the Witcher 3 never retailed for $110.00. JB Hi-Fi sold it at it’s actual retail price of 89 from day one.

    • It really varies store though as to how the manager/area manager would treat their team.
      I did 5 years at eb games before moving onto greener pastures.
      I think I did easily 100+ hrs of unpaid work in my time and know many others from other areas who have done the same.
      So the staff discount counts on consoles/bundles now too? Thats pretty good then, otherwise it was cheaper price-matching Jb or the like.
      The most I got for constant good performance was bonuses for my boss and we won a few of those “rights to hold” midnight launches as well as a couple of first place pre-orders (which sometimes came with games, other times a prize which couldn’t really be given out – i.e only one item for the whole store).
      As for the kpi’s I only experienced the you should be doing better, but never anything came of it.
      I have had some really strange customer complaints though…
      Only a few brought official warning letters from head office.
      1. such one was for telling a customer to go buy a tv from JB… because we don’t sell tv’s…
      2. for telling a customer to please read the sign as to what the policy was for a buy 2 get 3 one free…
      3. for being threatened by a customer because his trade in wasn’t worth very much (saying he was going to ‘beat me up’ after my shift was over) and apparently I had to apologise to him and offer him a gift card? – (that was the last one, before I said enough was enough)
      Upper management at eb couldn’t care less for their staff. I think it really is only a bear place to work if your workmates are good.

      I’ve experienced verbal abuse from upper management as well other things we shall not get into.

      As for numbers I was in the 14XXX so hired a while ago, but from reading this article, not much has changed. I’ve worked at a few of the competitors too and haven’t experienced the same dramas I did at eb.

        • 12XXX also. I agree with you 100%. I was there long enough to see staff incentives taken away, not added to. 20% employee discount on RRP means it’s cheaper to price match a competitor and have someone else put it through the till.

    • Every store and every manager is not the same. You should have written about your good time and said not every store is bad but you can’t discount others experiences without having been there.

    • Both my boyfriend and I worked for eb.
      He has dealt with really good management , but ive dealt with really bad management. ( worked at 2 different stores/ areas)

      Just all about luck I suppose.

    • 20% off? So you’d get a game for only $20 more than most stores sell it for. Sounds great

    • You seem to be trying too hard here mate..

      Also bragging about something you got for free, that the average consumer is paying 100% more than they should be is a dick move.

    • South-East Queensland, you must work under Mark Simpson. He is the only decent person in that soulless hole of a company.

    • You get 20% staff discount? So essentially retail value that you could get when you pop across the road to JB Hi-Fi?

  • All true – including the ranking of staff by KPIs, and whoever came last would lost a shift the following week.

    • That’s common and accepted in retail though, I’ve worked in a handful of stores fixated on KPIs, most retail casual/PT listings even list it right in the job description. The more worrying thing is the treatment of employees from the alleged sexual and racial abuse.

  • *after reading this article, the ABC decided to send in reporters to look into this mess*

    • Yep, the typical “saving face” crap that the Employment Watchdog pulled off years ago when they raided dozens of Hungry Jacks outlets because the complains were so numerous they couldn’t ignore them anymore. When I worked at Pizza Hut, they completely ignored several complaints I made to the watchdog, but I refused to quit because I’d been told working is better than nothing.

  • Having worked at EB games, I would definately say, do not work there if you value your time, happiness or yourself.

  • I have had that kind of experience working in supermarket retail when I was a teenager in the UK. As I became a “Junior Manager” I was forced to do many many hours for no pay, and would watch my Manager go home at 5pm, and I would run the team until 10 or 11pm. If the store wasnt done, I was expected to stay until it was, and a dodgy security alarm would often mean I would stay until it was reset at 3am, then be back in at 6am for the bakers. When I left, I vowed never again and have held true to that. We also had our own regional ‘psycho’ who seemed able to cop any abuse to anyone he liked without apparent recourse.

    Seems like the employment world for teenagers/20-somethings hasn’t changed one iota, sadly.

  • All of this sounds extremely familiar. I watched this series of videos on Youtube about all these practices being done at EB’s parent company GameStop… I think it was back in 2008-2009

    *One Youtube search later*

    Found the videos!

    Episode 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I33K4tV0Sdk
    Episode 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCWMmrAQfv4
    Episode 3.1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuS-uC5ni6E
    Episode 3.2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBjLZLM7tFU
    Episode 3.3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnLI8UW2SHc

  • I just wrote a big empassioned comment but I accidentally deleted it before posting.

    TL:DR: 8 years employee. Treated like shit. Watched, helpless, as a fellow young female employee was repeatedly sexually harassed. Was told she’d Just have to deal with it – it’s banter, she’s working with men, she’d have to get used to it. Wasn’t accused of stealing but was told I had equal responsibility for thousands of dollars of missing stock. Keys taken off me and given to another employee – “If I’m not being accused of stealing, you’ve just given the keys to someone who has a four in five chance of being the actual thief”. No real response to that one. Manager given six months to hire a new replacement assistant manager – two casuals told to work for free and the person who worked the most would get the job. He knew immediately who he was going to hire, he just needed six months of free labour to make sure he was right. Manager, meanwhile, sat out the back on his phone, then bitched that work wasn’t done. “A manager’s job is to delegate”, he said, when I broached the subject.
    Walked away as soon as I was able to and am much happier now in a job where I’m respected and paid for the hours I work.

    Go at them, Mark. Fuck the lot of them.

  • I worked at my local EB.

    I was never asked to work for free. Paid for all my shifts including filling in for another casual. Did Assassins Creed midnight launch and the XBox One. My store manager and area manager were magnificent, even when I had a confrontation with an assistant manager. Even to this day I’m still on good terms with management. My fellow staff had their own personalities but you can’t get along with everyone & you go to work to work not socialise.

    As for KPI’s, they are called that for a reason. I’ve had them in all my jobs including talking up and pushing flybuys for Coles when I was 16.

    It has it be these isolated instances & I’m sure this Area Manager will get his just deserts.

  • It’s shocking the amount of EB employees I’ve asked around that are saying that Haylees claims are ‘exaggerate’ and its ‘unlikely’ any of it happened.
    Why are they defending this kind of behaviour?

  • It is easy to say you would do differently in the situation, but as a teenager in your first job, you assume its normal, you think it comes with the job. And then when shit turns sour, you dont know where to go. You believe your manager when they say constantly tell u they are taking your complaints seriously (also not realising that being an games store manager in ur early 20s does not make you a caring responsible adult)

    • This is why a really high number of successful complaints are actually instigated by over-protective parents who are not only a lot angrier about the exploitation of their kids than their kids are, but who are also a lot less concerned about whether their complaining will be taken seriously or not, and a lot more cynical about it being taken seriously.

  • I used to frequent an EB store around here when I was younger. The manager constantly tried to persuade me to work there and was pretty forward with me about how well I would do there. I am glad I had people talk me out of it, telling me it was a bad place to work and he only wanted me there because I was a girl. I needed a job and was considering it. I mean, it was a cool sounding job… right?

    Looking back after reading this, I am really happy I never did. I am happy I don’t give them my business anymore either.

  • I worked for EB Games for 5 years. I was hired by Mark DiStefano. I still use him as a reference on my resumes and occasionally catch up with him for dinner.

    Imagine you caught someone stealing so you fire them on the spot and give them a nation wide store ban. Imagine they take this personally retaliate by feeding the media some horrible stories about you in an attempt to defame your character. The internet is a horrible revenge ground and sadly once you get the mob behind you the truth doesn’t really matter anymore.

    Here is some first hand hard facts,
    1. EB is rife with sexism, racism and exploitation. Expected unpaid overtime in particular is rife in many industries, hospitality is a far worse perpetrator of this from my experience.
    2. Mark is actually a very sweet and loving man and if you spoke to him for even 30 seconds it would heavily contrast what you just read. He is beside himself with grief over these events, he is a long time sufferer of anxiety and depression and I actually worry for him.
    3. Because of the well known truth of #1 it implies the absolute truth of #2. All i can say is it’s simply not the case.

    This comment will probably get lost in the sea of hate, but if you stop and read it please think about the article you just read. Have you ever seen people use the media to pursue their own agenda? I promise you, that’s what you just read.

    • Why did 4 other people sign on with this person retaliating without basis though? What about all the EB staff who have commented here anonymously agreeing?

      Not that I don’t believe you, but you could at least address those concerns.

    • There’s a saying: If your date is nice to you but is rude to your waiter, they are not a nice person.

      Being sweet and loving to people you care about is not a laudable trait. It is baseline humanity one step above sociopathy, with more than a touch of self-preservation. ‘Sweet and loving… to friends and family’, but not ‘Apu,’ is an horrific indictment of the man’s character.

      The true measure of character is how you treat those different to you or outside your personal circles. How you treat those who it does not benefit you in particular to treat well.

      IF these accusations about persistent, ongoing (not just ‘isolated incident’ – the claims are about a pattern of behaviour) racism are true, Mark is not a sweet and loving person. He is instead an intolerant bigot with no consideration for the feeelings of any people he doesn’t rely on for present or future emotional sustenance.

      If the claims are untrue? A number of people are willing to put not only their current or future employment on the line, but face the repercussions of signing statutory declarations to support their claims. This has serious consequences. Are these people unaware of these consequences? Or are so many people so deranged with unfair feelings of imagined persecution that they are willing to go to such self-sabotaging lengths for an untruth?

      To me, that this is a lie or conspiracy seems a bigger effort to swallow.

    • Although I, like most people here, don’t actually know Mark Serrels, I have complete faith in his journalistic integrity. I have read pretty much every article he has written since he joined Kotaku AU, and from what I can tell, a lot of time, effort and research goes into his work. Mark doesn’t seem like a click bait whore. I am confident in his abilities to research and compile evidence.

      He is beside himself with grief over these events, he is a long time sufferer of anxiety and depression
      Good. Fuck him. How do you think the people he has treated like shit feel?

    • 1 complaint i can dismiss, 2 complaints, i can turn a blind eye to, but the majority of the 5 pages and counting of comments are complaints, walks like a duck, talks like a duck…

    • Of course, having said that above, I do think it’s unfortunate that this DiStefano is singled out by name.

      The internet hate machine is a foul thing, and this should be a matter for the courts. I have no doubt he’s suffering something awful right now at the hands of the self-righteous ‘internet crusaders’.

      • I doubt Mark Serrels would have named him without doing his due diligence. I believe he deserves everything he gets. Toxic work places like this are unacceptable.

    • I just want to say thank you for this. I also posted in defence of Mark and it’s nice to see I’m not the only one. It seems unfair that he’s been subjected to this, especially after the crap the company itself has put him through.

    • “EB is rife with sexism, racism and exploitation…hospitality is a far worse perpetrator of this…”

      Oh ok. Well I guess that makes it all ok. Move along folks, EB is cool. As long as there are worse perps, let’s let them off the hook.

      So these people who have signed statutory declarations (that will punish them severely if they lie) just made it all up, huh? As someone said before, one or two you could dismiss. But 5? From different areas? Not to mention the amount of testimony from commenters who have worked or still work for EB.

    • Ex-employee here. I haven’t worked there for a long time, so I’m not being a troll or a flamer or whatever. I’m objective and emotionless regarding this issue.
      My experiences are utterly in line with what the article alleges.

    • Ok fine. Lets forget about all the personal horror stories and bring it back a bit to the base interactions.

      This Mark guy… his job (or at least what he thought it was) was to personally call the worst ranked employees at every store under his jurisdiction and rip them to shreds.

      That tells me more than enough about him and his professional attitude (or lack thereof) to completely write off the guy. There are some sucky low-end employees out there, but this and the entirety of the rest of this article’s revelations about company policy are not how it is done. You evaluate, calmly, and with clear neutral discussion and then continue with the same polite manner when an insubordinate or under-performing employee truly requires firing. Not only that, but these evaluations should be carried out by in-store management, who will always have a better understanding of their staff and extraneous factors.

      That part of this story is something I can believe quite easily. If there’s any truth at all to the rest of the allegations made against him… well that’s just worse.

      • You set your expectations very clearly and very concisely with a third party manager (i.e. Area/Ops Manager > Direct Manager > Employee). You provide support and advise on how to succeed. You do not scream at them on the phone, that right there is not kosher and your work’s HR & Legal would bend you the fuck over while you sign your Gross Misconduct Termination Notice.

    • . He is beside himself with grief over these events, he is a long time sufferer of anxiety and depression and I actually worry for him.

      Nice. Go tell him to fuck himself. Soon people will out his FB, twitter, linkedin, etc. Then the shit will really hit the fan.

  • Some vagueness in my comment for legal reasons.

    I worked at EB when they first arrived in Australia and known by their original, full name.
    Electronics Boutique was a great employer and as they were new, they set the price other retailers had to match (the reverse is now true). I wont get technical, but the pay was above award and all possible, legal penalty rates applied.

    After some years – sales quota’s and KPI’s were introduced and I was given the ultimatum of “join us full-time (Uni student at the time) or… ” — I had 1 more shift after declining the offer and wasn’t sad to leave as it was clear top management focus had changed.

    I feel for the young kids working there today as the desperation for shifts now exists in all insecure work.

    • That’s because it will fill the pockets of the CEO’s etc more easily if I can chose when you do and don’t work, then pay you accordingly. Casual work is great for students etc. However, companies making the bulk of their workforce casual is seriously wrong, and needs to be addressed!

      • The really shitty thing is that if your company can only survive by exploitation, then your company is not actually economically self-sustaining is it?

        Seems a lot of un-viable business’ operate on this return to slavery-style work and pay.

        Then we add a ‘work for the dole’ system and further un-viable business’ make governmentally sanctioned slavery part of their business model.

        What the actual ferkuk?

        • What it comes down to is people in positions of power in these businesses being allowed to make such structure changes internally. The government allows it.

          I worked at two different factories for a fair while; Toohies and Rheem. Whilst I was paid well, there was always the promise for a permanent job because “you’re a good worker” (I know that manufacturing is on the decline in Australia). However, big bosses will never allow new permanent workers in such environments unless they are one of the few “vital” roles. It’s not that the other roles are not needed (or they wouldn’t exist to start with), however, if a production line needed to be shut down for maintenance say, it’s easier for them to simply tell me, and other, that we are not needed that day or week. If production slows, we may not be needed that month, or for a few months.

          Yeah great, the company saves money, blah blah blah. The casual workers however, are now fu**ed, with no notice. I was told I wouldn’t be needed for the next four months at Toohies on the morning of my next shift!

          So what then are these workers supposed to do in terms of rent, bills, food etc? At the upper end of many businesses, everything revolves around numbers. And if the business can instantly dissolve a large chunk of it’s workforce during a quiet period, those number can look slightly better, which is all that’s really cared about at the top end.

          Those same people at the top end of those same businesses will then criticise people on the dole system, seemingly without realising that they probably put half of them there….

          What a shame.

    • Sounds like an IPO or something. Though I don’t think that would apply for an American company? Though saying that I don’t know those kinds of intricacies about finance; I’ve been employed at 3 places that all went through an IPO and that’s exactly what happened to all 3 of them.

      As soon as you get shareholders involved, all sense of employee relations goes out the window and it’s about increasing profit at the expense of all else. Sounds like there was a major shift in corporate culture during your time there.

      • Totally agree about IPO’s.
        The job I was recently retrenched from was as a result of the parent company being sold to new majority shareholders (overseas investment funds) twice in 3 years. Total chaos.

        Hundreds of years of expertise was retrenched and replaced with graduates.

        Ive decided fuck society – Im buying a cave and a fibre cable.

  • As someone who had worked in retail management and HR for 8 years now I find this an utter disgrace to take advantage of and abuse employee’s in this manner. There is no way I would ever ask my staff to stay back or come in early and not get paid for it, not only is it illegal, but it also lacks decency to people being paid the minimum wage.

    While all retail management and salaried positions come with a “reasonable overtime” proviso, it doesn’t meant work an extra 5 hours a day for free. It means a few hours a week and maybe a few more around Christmas, but nothing to the extent that EB demands from their employees via intimidation, fear and bullying tactics. And certainly not casual staff. I would like to know if any current or past EB Games employees were/are members of the union. If so did they ever talk to their union representative about workplace bullying and unpaid work hours? Or were they even told about their option to join the union when employed by EB? I assumed the SDA would be the union responsible for looking after EB employees.

    Judging from this article and comments there seems to be a systemic culture ingrained in EB Games that takes advantage of young and eager employees and exploits them to the nth degree. A culture this ingrained comes from the top as clearly it is not an isolated case relating to one Area Manager or Store Manager, which is clear by the lack of comment on these allegations by EB Head Office.

    The fact that an employer as large as EB Games does not have its own HR department speaks volumes about the companies care for their employees and astounds me how all of these stories are only being made widely public now. Clearly they do not care the slightest for their employees well being, performance or productivity levels as the threat of being replaced seems to be the main tactic used in baiting employees to illegally work without being paid. It screams we don’t care about our employees, they are disposable and if they don’t tow the company line we will find some other sucker that will.

    Everyone who reads this should boycott EB Games both as a customer (if they haven’t already for high prices and dodgy practices) and as a future potential employee to a point where they are either forced to change their ways, or they go out of business as this should not be happening to anyone.

  • Ok , just so that we are are all on the same page – we are now boycotting Target (over GTA) and EB (over this)?
    Heaven forbid if JB ever slips up!!

  • Coming from the other side of the country (Perth), I can confirm that all of these issues are still relevant. I’d estimate that I get paid for about 50 – 60% of the hours I work, and the only reason I do the work is that if I didn’t, it wouldn’t get done, and if it didn’t get done, the staff would get abused and culled.
    Expectations are unrealistically high in terms of sales, presells, trades and profit, and staff are systematically abused for “failing to perform to the necessary standard”. Managers are the only employees with a reasonable level of contact with area managers, which often means they cop the flack from higher-ups for their store “underperforming”. The number of hours worked by my manager and assistant manager (both my friends) is absolutely ridiculous, just because we can’t afford to staff our store: we don’t have any ‘extra’ staff, even thought we’re over wages budget by about $400 each month, so if you really can’t make a regular shift, it means someone’s working their day off, or running the store by themselves. If your store manages to make good stats, you might be rewarded with a $100 increase to the entire store’s monthly wage budget. Hooray, I might get paid for an extra half hour of work this month!
    Then there are the company policies… we’re required to attack you with trade deals and presell offers and game guarantees and service add-ons the second you walk into the store. We’d rather just leave you to browse and ask for help if you need it, but if we process a single sale without an EB World account attached to it, we can expect “disciplinary action” to be taken. You may have seen us wince or shed a tear when someone outright refuses to sign up! Like in most corporations, the abuse we receive from customers who are angry about company policies gets old real fast.
    We have a lot of work to do! I’ve never left the store less than an hour after close, and we usually end up staying around 2 hours after close just to process all of the trades from the day, tidy the store, vacuum, close the tills, record stats, put up marketing, prepare for game releases, process stock cartons, rearrange shevling, all of which we were supposed to be able to do whilst serving customers (which is a full-time occupation in a video game store), and you’d better believe neither of us took a lunch break!
    EB is just horrendous: they make a shitload of money and spend it all on marketing and personal yachts. Hardly anything makes its way back to the employees or customers. Gotta love those big corporations…

    • I didn’t realize (although I should have) that having a customer connected to an EB World account could spell trouble… if you served someone who wasn’t. I pissed off just as EB World was coming in (always hated the concept after we were briefed on what it actually meant for customers) and I shouldn’t be surprised that you guys get railed over the times when a customer just isn’t interested and won’t sign up regardless of how persuasively it’s presented to them.
      In fact now I feel bad because although I have an EB World membership I frequently refuse to have purchases tied to my account. It’s not for any particular reason either. I just don’t want to participate in their schemes on the odd times that I stumble across a rare Vita game when I find myself perusing the shelves.
      To think that employees are being disciplined because I have a fucking opinion is outrageous.

  • Had the same scenario happen when working for EzyDVD, told me ‘i wasn’t happy’…wtf does that even mean?? I sure as hell wasn’t happy going from 40hrs a week running the store cos they couldn’t be stuffed hiring another manager (they went through 3 while I was there in 6mths), I was just a casual, keeping the place open cos I loved my job and the new state manager walks in and says we appreciate what you have done, we dont think your happy, perhaps take some time to prove yourself again, here’s your hours cut back to 3hrs a fortnight….I thought that was not only the biggest slap in the face but the worst day of my life…until 3 days later I got an eviction notice cos my bf wasn’t paying our rent..fml

  • Worked there for five years and a bit. Did a tonne of over time without pay, it’s kind of expected and you’re definitely frowned upon if you don’t stay back to help clean. Work place is bitchy due to limited spots to progress with everyone there wanting career progression.

    Ontop of that from my perspective they don’t look after staff that perform well, which is why I left.

  • As far as EB goes I’d say it depends heavily on the store and if the particular manager has a soul…

    Guy I knew was a manager of one store or another for years and seemed to always be taking a lot of heat from higher ups not because of the amount of overtime staff needed to do at times, but because he always tried to make sure they got paid for it.

    Add to it there were a couple of mistakes his employees made that they probably could’ve been fired for, but he’d take the blame because they were generally one off issues from largely decent staff members.

    That being said, from what I could tell I don’t think it worked out well for his own stress levels.

  • I used to work for EB for about a year in 2011. And they not paying casuals for midnight launches is true.

    I got bullied heaps by my manager and had ‘low kpi’s’ when my store manager would be really sneeky and log a transaction under her name when ever I had a customer with a pre owned game. Or try and kick me off the register to get discs for her when it got busy.

    And the integrity hotline was a load of bs too, She would joke about it every shift i was rosered on (2 3 hr shifts a week)

    They even screwed arround with my superanuation. Tried to sign me on to BT (Westpac Super).

    I had an opportunity to fill in a shift at another store (got my boyfriend hired through word of mouth) while the store manager was away. Did that and got harrased for ‘betraying my store’, having no consideration for others.

    It was sad because working in a different store made me truely realise how shit my manager was treating me and that not all eb stores are like that… It was really unfortunate that I made allot of effort to get a store open though petitions thought i would get far but instead get bullied and get almost no gratitude to work there.

  • I worked 60 hours a week setting up sales with a broken ankle. Paid $34G salary and was regularly verbally abused by my manager there. Worst employer in the f**king world.

  • Sickening. The guys at my local EB seem friendly, noe I don’t know how much is legit and how much is forced. I might ask them next time I go in and see if there’s been any mention of this article at all.

    As for working for free, that’s illegal no matter what your employee status as is being fired for it. The employees don’t have the knowledge, but they should be recording days and hours that they’ve worked as well as well as when they’ve been asked to work.

    I’ve never felt sympathy for EB Games, but the employees, that’s a different question and these stories are the stuff that no one should experience

  • Dream jobs should not compromise your rights as a worker. There is union called SDA NSW where u can be a member privately, n your employer will not be notified. If you join the union, you have a lot of benefits to protect your rights, e.g. wages,harassment from co-workers and employers. ALLL YOUNG WORKERS. .KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND BE PROTECTED!!!!✌✌✌✌✌

  • As others have said such cases are common in workplaces in general not necessarily EB games or retail alone. The thing is you need to defend yourself and show them you are simply an employee, not their slaves, not their property.

    If someone speaks to me in a disrespectful way they are going to know about it, regardless of how far up the chain they are or how much they think they can dangle the threat of firing over my head.

    Hospitality is also very bad for this kind of attitude, with the upper management especially since it most often emplotees young females that are easily intimidated. Which is why I stress to the staff in my kitchen they are not there to take shit and be mistreated by anyone, regardless of title.

    Unfortunately this is the kind of attitude one needs to adopt if you want to last in the workforce. You may just say “oh but they are young and it is thier first job”, yes but that is why they should be speaking to friends, families and fellow colleagues about what is and isn’t normal. As for the alledged rape, well that’s a whole other issue I am not going to go into…

  • I’ll happily join in on this.

    I too was employed by EB Games and this article is 100% on point. I used to love video games and played a fair bit, having worked at EB as a store manager I learnt to hate video games and EB. You easily work about 80 hours a week but get paid for 40. You are constantly abused by your arrogant area manager for something you haven’t done or an unachievable KPI you haven’t reached. At the beginning it was fun, it was about customer service and helping people but a year later they changed, it was super KPI driven and the fun environment was gone.

  • Off-Topic:
    ding 5000 shares – congrats @MarkSerrels and Kotaku

    Hello EB corporate legal /wave.

  • Crayons said it well, the stories us ex Eb employees could tell, only one sexual harassment story? Can’t wait till GameStop shut down. Over charging mooks

  • there may be some truth to this article. There may be some lies.

    “It only takes one tree, to make a thousand matches.
    It only takes one match, to burn a thousand trees”

    Just remember that before you write something that may cause irreparable damage to someone. The court of public opinion has been wrong before.

    • You get that Mark Serrels is an award winning IT journalist and editor of Kotaku not some rando posting in YouTube comments?

      There is a good reason this is posted 2 months after the ABC article in a similar vein, and I would hedge my bets and say that reason is fact-checking.

  • LET’S GET OFF OUR BEHINDS & REALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, YEAH.
    ***DON’T BUY AT EB UNTIL IT TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT & FULLY FIXES THESE CORE ISSUES.***

  • I had worked at an EB store for 3 years and I used to work unpaid all the time majority of the time it was when I was opening and closing the store, we were required to be at work half an hour without pay and stay back at least half an hour to do admin stuff that could easily be done whilst open.
    Also having to stay back in the store till midnight on Christmas eve setting up sale stuff that arrived WAYYYYY too late.
    I personally never got abused by any managers or other employees in a serious manner.
    I hated the lack of recognition for doing things outside of great KPI’s, that I was given less priority to shifts than people I was younger than and had worked longer than and the general way the store was being run when the change in management happened.
    Also that I had shifts cut from me for doing something that I was well within my right to do.

  • I worked at EB and I can verify that how the article portrays the culture there is pretty accurate. Like most retail chains, they have a lot of trouble treating their staff well.

    That being said, for a long time Mark was my area manager and the stories about him in this article seem, at best, exaggerated. And at worst, libellous. In all my experience with him I never saw anything that would indicate he was capable of this kind of behaviour. He was a good guy.

  • Not at all surprising, EB is a very aggressive business and casual staff are soft targets for this type of behaviour. Looks like I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

  • I picked up a shift at EB on Christmas Eve when I was a casual, it was going to be 6 hours long then got cut to 3, then when we closed up, I was expected to stay back and set up for the Boxing Day Sale, which I wasn’t made aware of. I had to travel to see my family for Christmas. I stayed behind an hour and very nearly missed my plane home. I pretty sure that because I insisted that I had to go home, I was not given another shift after that and very soon let go. It was fucking awful. I loved the job, and I got stabbed in the back for it.

  • I was astonished to see this story at first but I was happy that it’s out there and I would like to share my own story of working at Eb games. I was employed in October 2013 with a few other casual workers at the same time everything was swell for the first few weeks until the regional manager came in Matt was his name everything was fine at first until I overheard a conversation between Matt and my boss Matt asked her something I didn’t quite here but then myself and another employee with the same disability asperges was mentioned he then got annoyed and try to fire me and my fellow employee on the spot because “we were too hard to train and a waste of time.” of which I thought was disgusting and disheartened he was very adamant about this however my boss then stepped in and said “why is that your problem you aren’t training them I am.” Matt had bo reply he just spent the rest of his time glaring at me and I was feeling very anxious about this but I put it to the back of my mind. A few weeks time we had our staff meeting in which Matt was not happy with myself and my fellow employee with asperges even though we had high KPI’s he still wanted us gone and my boss defended us again and Matt would still continue to glare at us. at the end of my employment in February 2014 with the group I was hired I was sadden to see it end as there was meant to be a position available for more employment there. I then went about my life a week later I learned there was a position available before my job ended I asked my ex boss what the go was and Matt had refused to let me be hired for further employment as I talked with my now friend who had asperges the same thing happened to him. I pursed this but the company brushed it off with you can’t prove this I miss heard what he said despite having other members of the staff there say they heard. So I waited for job interviews after going in loops with the company and I managed to get another job interview only to be denied employment again because of what the previous regional manager Matt put on my record and am being refused to hire and faced with the excuse we don’t hire past employees so a word of advice stay away from eb games I have never felt so worthless in my life until I worked there.

  • First line is they messed up

    ‘The dream job: being involved with the games industry’

    Working for EB Games is definitely not wokring in the gaming industry.

  • After reading the article and speaking with staff in the store involved I can confirm that the account involving the district manager is rubbish. Randall and Brad apparently have been bullying stuff in the store which is why they were banned.

    • HAH! Complete load of crap this was posted in the SMH back in may and was talking about the figtree store. I know about 6 of the guys from the figtree store including the store manager himself. All 100% is true. Not to mention I work elsewhere in the shopping centre. These guys were real shaken up about stuff that happened. read the SMH article

  • It fucked in the warehouse to. I worked in there old warehouse near the Brisbane airport. And aside from the shit boaring work you’d look around and see the full timers doing nothing and the casuals doing all the work. Also we never had a finish time. You would work till they tell you to go home. That could be at midday or it could be at 8pm,you never knew. I explained that I have kids and 10hrs a day was all I agreed to when I was hired and there response was to bad we don’t care if you’ve got kids or what was discussed in the interview, it wasn’t with me. You’ll finish as late as I tell you and not a second before hand or else your gone. Bloke then looked puzzled when I asked him to pat me down and search my bag because I was out of there. Also there was a guy there who was a little slow (great guy but not the sharpest tool in the shed) it was his 4yr as a Xmas casual and every year they say to him the will put him on after Xmas but every year he would be let go. It was bloody disgraceful.

  • Underemployment is a huge issues in Australia, and The Fair Work Ombundsman does nothing about it. I’ve worked at Pizza Huts below minimum wage, got out because the situation wasn’t ever going to improve, they place huge expectations on you to drop everything for the job and act surprised when you refuse to do something you don’t think is right. Whistle blowing needs to happen far more often and people need to take a stand against company exploitation and their needs to be more to benefit the employee.

  • I left my name as anonymous for reasons, but I currently work at eb games. I have worked there for 3 years and I am still on roughly 10 hours a week.

    I have seen other less competent and frankly useless people be promoted before me and I asked my area manager why and he just dodged the question. I am stuck in a city that has no other work available and they know this. We casuals are trapped.

    Everything I talk about leaving they either dangle the carrot or play to my fears and tell me I won’t find work anywhere.

    This is an evil company, where the higher ups reap the rewards and the lower people on the scale suffer through practically slave labor.

    I wish we could all boycott this company

  • The exact same crap happened at the dick smith stores I worked at. Hopefully something happens for the eb staff.

  • It must vary store-to-store. I know a handful of EB employees between both Sydney and SE QLD and they seem to love it, but the behaviour from this Mark DiStefano character should be investigated because if true, what a goddamn scumbag. One complaint? Sure, maybe it’s an employee with an axe to grind, but where there’s smoke there’s fire and all these accounts seem to concur that he’s a terrible, abusive person to work for.

  • I never used to shop at EB because I could always get games cheaper from online sites. However I have bought a couple of things from them since PS4 launched. Mainly because I wanted my PS4 day one, and had a voucher to use there. I also like to support local businesses.

    In saying that, I’m disgusted by what this article has exposed. I will NOT be shopping there again.

    • If it makes you feel better, shopping at EB is not supporting local business. It’s owned by Gamestop, and all profits go straight to the USA

  • As an ex EB employee theres a few things in this article that I’m keen to discuss.
    Firstly the unpaid overtime for casuals was not a thing for me. If you had a sale setup or something you were never expected to stay back or work unpaid but if you wanted to help out…yknow out of the kindness of your heart..then you could. The manager would buy everyone dinner but no ones jobs were ever in jeopardy if you didn’t show up. I would stay back on multiple occasions not because I felt pressured to but because I took pride in my job. I wanted to help. It was a great crew.
    I do however know that if you were a manager you were more than likely getting shafted with the amount of over time you did. In your contract it states something along the lines of “a reasonable amount of overtime”
    That to ME means no more than maybe 2-3 hours per week but that definitely isnt the case alot of the time, especially in the middle of peak trading like school holidays and christmas.
    As for the bullying….that goes for any workplace. There are always gonna be dicks in the world…unfortunately they sometimes get jobs….maybe your boss but that shouldn’t be a reflection on the entire company!
    Some employees genuinely love working there and give amazing customer service. Don’t forget about the good guys

  • I was denied promotions because of people I socialized with outside of work and false promises for positions that he later gave to others. State managers that got fired for sexual engaging with young staff. I once had the big bosses coming from the US and worked thee days straight from 7am to 9pm cleaning the store and he gave the cedit to my manager that was at home with a broken leg and told us we could have a day in lieu as long as it didn’t cost anymore payroll. Only after I called the workplace harassment call line, which was suppose to be anonymous, he came into the branch and interrogated all my staff. Fuck EB Games Australia management as I wasted 7 years chasing the dream job and was subjected to harassment, workplace abuse, unpaid overtime, constant reference of my supposed sexual orientation, management giving out my private details to mental ill customers, unfounded accusation of thief and no apology when they did find the culprit, constantly being told I was terrible after managing a store that was low preforming and turning it into a top 10 store in the country (Chermside). I am glad I now work for an organization that values their employees and helps them achieve greatness.

  • If Mark DiStefano is still working at EB games, I doubt ill still be shopping there. I love supporting my local EB games store in Brisbane. It shows a lot about some employers about how they treat their employees.

  • A lot of this is true! Worked there for several years, and saw both the manager and Assistant Manager constantly under pressure to work massive hours with literally no overtime. The company line is always “stop being lazy and manage your time better”, even though they know damn well they pile on way too much work at a store level, and refuse to extend payroll to allow casual and part-timers to help out!

    Many times, EB tried to incentivize us to win ‘preorder competitions’ with other stores in our area. the prize? ONE copy of the game “for the entire store”! speaking of preorders, managers are totally unpaid for the effort they put into organising midnight launches. I remember for the PS4 and XBO launches, my manager worked over 70 hours that week and got nothing more than an offhand “thanks”.

    I also recall one time our store was celebrating making nearly $20,000 more than the store’s profit plan was projected to make that month, and our regional manager called and told us that we still weren’t getting enough game guarantees and to get more presales or he would start “taking disciplinary actions “. What a jerk.

    I ended up having to quit because I value my time and labor far more than they did.

    EB Games is saving itself hundreds of thousands (honestly, it’s probably millions) in salary and wage theft and managers actively prey on young workers to take advantage of their lack of worker rights.

  • The unpaid hours absolutely happened a few years ago back in the Newcastle area. It’s not just that, it’s the KPIs for casuals, the over-use of written warnings and the unprofessional manner of their managers.

    • I would have no idea if the underpaying still happens (current casual in that area here), but 100% agree about the KPI thing.
      The “Wow” factor mentioned in the article refers to those surveys you get if you’re an EB World member, it gets ranked based on how you, yes you, the customer, rates us on the “Would you recommend this store to family and friends?” question. 0-2 means your wow is crap, 3-7 doesn’t even get ranked (as it’s the average) and 8-10 mean your wow goes up. Higher wow means more shifts, low wow, less or no shifts and you’re warned with a friendly “improve or you’re gone” (how you can improve when you get no shifts is beyond me). So basically this means our jobs are determined by whether or not people do those surveys and if people are nice enough to score us high (I have been told the area managers can see which customers get the surveys and what they score us, dunno if that is counted as breach of privacy as I could see someone abusing that system very easily).

      Also, if you over 21 (like I am), don’t even think about getting regular hours, to Payroll, you’re “too expensive” to put on and constantly cut your hours or shifts (I have had no shifts whatsoever this month) to the point where you are forced to quit, but considering the unemployment rate, they’ve pretty much got you in a stranglehold.

  • I worked for EB as a second job several years ago.

    I didn’t mind helping out, but I was shocked by how many unpaid hours casuals were expected to work- particularly in comparison to my other job.

    The manager used to sit outside the store in the food court all day, talking to friends. Having worked retail, I knew the store looked atrocious and in the absence of any leadership came up with ways to try improve it.

    The assistant manager took delight in internally ordering unnecessary items (multiple vacuum cleaners, bins, etc) to irritate the store manager.

    Whenever anything went wrong with stock, it was hidden in the piles out the back.

    I complained once to the area manager, and never received another shift.

  • Sounds like working for Woolworths head office, but instead of enjoyable shit like gaming its all supermarket stuff.

    Seems thats why Eb wouldn’t hire me, I just wanted a casual job and they saw how much previous experience I had they wouldn’t have gotten away with treating me like this.

  • curious.
    What fact checking went in to this article? Not trying to start a fight, or pick sides. I am after a legitimate response. For example, if some of these staff are disgruntled employees, what was done to verify it. It doesn’t take much to lodge an official complaint etc. if I wanted to (and I was an ex employee of Kotaku for example) I could lodge a complaint tomorrow that Mark Serrels abused me on a daily basis and the complaint (regardless of whether there was any basis of truth to the complaint) would have to be investigated. It is a well written article yes, however I would like to know what research was done other than talking to the staff (who hid behind pseudonyms which is their right) and then reporting their claims? What was the outcome of EB games internal investigation? Do you believe they waited three weeks and just said “nothing to see here.”? So we are to believe in your journalistic integrity but not the integrity of EB Games purely because they get exclusive games and you don’t like it?

    • Your tone seems like you want to start a fight, Just saying.

      Sources would be nice though. But from the massive amount of anecdotal confirmation to having worked in a similar corporate structure myself. I don’t have a hard time believing this at all.

      Plus i would be disgruntled as fuck if i was raped. There would be fires, not just stat decs, it doesn’t make the allegations any less valid.

    • None of this seems in anyway like you are trying to avoid picking a fight or choosing sides.

      Mark Serrels is an award-winning journalist, this article is published 2 months after an ABC article in the same vein. I would assume between the two of them, they are able to do some rudimentary fact-checking.

      Maybe if you had done your own fact-checking, you would see what a reliable source this is coming from.

  • Ok, if it hasn’t been said by anyone, first thing you do is join one of the retail unions. You don’t need to tell anyone at work that you have and I wouldn’t recommend it until you have been employed for 6 months as the unfair dismissal period only commences from then.

    If you then have a problem with bullying, underpayment or harrassment then call your union. They will shit all over the store manager’s knowledge of IR laws and generally scare the shit out of tough-guy-in-the-playground managers.

    If you’re fired for being in a union, or they fire you for no reason and you can say it’s because they found out you are in a union, that’s unlawful dismissal and you can get your job back or sue for damages. Remember that the onus of proof is on the employer that they fired you for a lawful reason.

    Generally, if you are employed regularly and systematically and had a reasonable expectation of continuing to work on that basis you are entitled to unfair/unlawful dismissal remedies even as a Casual worker.

    And for gods sake, if you are raped like the poor girl in the story, go to the police. Not HR, not the manager, the cops.

    • this doesnt work if you are with the SDA… unfortunately if other states are anything like south australia, they are in the pockets of coles and woolworths.

      When I used to manage a woolworths we we’re told how corporate had saved us millions by offering a 5c payrise for a group of staff memebers to avoid them getting a $1.40/h payrise.

      They’re quick to try to look like they are doing their job and then it is like they are trying so hard to avoid doing it.

  • This sounds very believable as a former employee. Unpaid stocktakes till all hours of the morning when you are expected to be back at 8am for recounts. Different levels of management coming into your store and ordering re-merches.. only to have another manager come and order it back. Being given written warnings for trade in breaches that were performed before I even worked at the store, threatened with sacking because of my heath, even though i wasnt taking sick days. Finally I was Told to step down or I would be given weekly performance reviews that would be harder and harder until it resulted in my termination. This is probably Australia’s worse company which is sad because the store level employees are good people.

  • As a former EB games employee I can back this up 100%
    I had seven managers in a year because all of them either quit or were fired.
    We had an unpaid, mandatory staff meeting every fortnight or so, and “Busy bees” where we were expected to set up the entire store for a sale, and were given a few slices of pizza for our 5 hours work after hours.

    The attitudes of the senior staff were horrible too, my area manager would hit on my girlfriend in front of me, and when I told him to back off he’d laugh and say
    “well I guess i’ll be looking for a new staff member at your store”
    I was one of the very few people that had the guts to stand up to him even a little bit, most didn’t say anything.

    He told one of the staff members every time he saw he about how much he hated her boyfriend, and would try to talk the rest of us into being mean to this guy that none of us really knew. He seemed fine and he made her happy.

    One of the girls I was working with was called a slut, after turning down his advances for months, by one of the guys in the store, and she tried to take it to someone but it never went anywhere because the guy knew the area manager personally and the girl got told she’d be fired if she bought it up again.

    The pay situation was terrible too, I was the only one who counted up my hours and I was regularly underpaid by about 6-8 hours, when I asked about it I’d always get the “OH whoops, i’ll put it through next week” which never happened.

    After I left I was miserable for a long time, I was forced out of the company and when I called to ask why I didn’t have shifts I got told
    “It’s because your useless,”
    That really stayed with me for a long time, I was one of the top performers in the state, but there was no loyalty in the end.

  • BOYCOT EB GAMES! I went in and asked for ALL My pre orders to be cancelled. This is disgusting behaviour. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that most of the eb employees are odd. Like really hyper.

    • They’re just buzzing off energy drink due to closing hours after they were meant to the previous night.

      But in all seriousness, yea – it’s very put on – probably in an effort to help the stereotypical (introverted) gamer, feel more comfortable and expressive with their hobby. As if to entice them to come back, to a place where they can feel ‘accepted’.

  • A quick tip for any EB employee who suffers from bullying or abuse similar to this. Keep a notepad on you at all times and if anything is said immediately write down the conversation, time and the names of anyone else in the room, oh and date it.

    This is a good way to backup any complaint you may have. It sounds terrible and i hope justice prevails. Something needs to be done.

  • Wow… Ok then

    Does anybody have some advice for me on how i can get trade credit at EB games out of the system? Whilst i understand mistakes can be made everywhere and their is two sides to every story, this is downright out of line. I also have numerous friends within EB games ranging from my local store, to Western Australia (i’m in Sydney) up north to the HQ in Brisbane, and all have confirmed the poor culture expressed in this article (including sexual assault, though i don’t know why that doesn’t get to the cops tbh…) so please understand i’m not being one sided here…

    I currently have $180ish worth of trade credit built up over roughly 3 years of trading, if anybody can explain how to get this out that would be great. Big W always has been cheaper (online even cheaper..)

    Thanks anyway!

    • Sorry, you can’t. In New South Wales, at least, EB doesn’t have the right *something or other* to give trade credit as cash. When I was there you could do it in Queensland for a 10% cut or something, but I don’t know if that’s still the case.
      They have your money, unfortunately. But you could still do something with it which will make you feel better personally – give a family member or friend a kick-arse present, or just buy a fistful of cheap 360 games and donate them to a charity.

    • Put some of it on a pre-order, then pick it up and pay the excess with cash. Then return it and purchase a game off the shelf. Keep doing this.
      Check the receipt to see if it has a breakdown of the payment methods.

      It should dilute the “trade credit” and allow you to just return-for-cash at some point.

      • The receipts definitely have the breakdown of how it was initially paid for. One receipt flows into another which flows into another. I think you’re forced to join EB World now if you want to trade at all – meaning the paper trail is now digital… and thus even more impossible to circumvent.

  • spoken to a few mates who work for them thinking they’d want to get onboard if anything came of this as they are all afraid to say anything public….

    They’ve all been told any mention of this or anything negative may result in legal action against them, while others have been told “no comment” wink wink.

  • This article is 100% accurate. This is a brief summary of my time at EB.

    I started at the end of 2007, a happy-ish casual and left in April 2012 a jaded Assistant Manager who had decided to kill himself.
    When I started I was already working another job in a liquor store, and was hired thanks to a total fluke. I happened to be in my local store when the managers were joking about the giant sheafs of resumes you accumulate during the school holidays, and being on good terms with the staff as I was I couldn’t help but join in. I was offered an interview, which was just sitting down and talking shit for 15 minutes, and I was in. You should believe it when you hear of ex employees that all say “I loved it at first.” It really was a blast to begin with, and I was always volunteering for tasks as an excuse to hang out some more. It wasn’t long before I quit the liquor store and devoted as much time as I could to EB, paid or not.
    Paid or not is what started to get to me when I became full time, as an Assistant Manager. I had no car (I lived close to public transport which practically dropped me off door to door) but was expected to find my way, out of my own pocket, to work at 11pm and find a way home at 1am, midweek, long after the last trains for my area. I asked about the possibility of them comping me a taxi. “We wouldn’t want to set a precedent,” I was told, and that really, if I wanted to be a manager, I should probably get a car. There was a new sale literally every month, and we’d have to get the entire store dressed up in some way or other overnight. Stocktake was even worse, as they wouldn’t pay casuals to help and so would force other store managers to help out, even on rostered days off. There was nothing you could do about it, there was no one you could go to for help.
    The carrot dangling of a promotion is what eventually ran me in to the ground, eroding my self esteem to the point where I just couldn’t fucking take it any more. I moved from store to store, one an hour and a half away, one way by train, always with the hope that this time, they’d have to make me a manager. I started to fall apart when on my next move my manager was in the middle of a separation and having a complete nervous breakdown. I had a lot of sympathy for him, being prone to depression myself and getting on quite well with him. I took control of the store over a period of time where we had one of our famous mid year sales (red plastic) and the Call of Duty: Black Ops launch, both of which saw us smashing head office’s precious KPI’s and raking in cash. When my manager quit, I knew I was a shoo in. After at least a month with no manager, they promoted someone who had been in the company for about a year, compared to my three. She was a great manager, and we got on really well (I even developed a school boy crush at one point), but I was well aware I was being used as her training wheels. I was always told “You’re just not quite ready yet.”
    Then in the next, and last, store I was Assistant Manager to an Area Manager. He was usually out, either visiting other stores, at meetings, or traveling interstate to head office. So once I again I was managing a store, but as far as payroll were concerned I was an assistant manager only.
    I can clearly remember standing in the store in the morning before I opened and feeling the strangest wave of unreality wash over me. What the fuck was I doing here? My work/life balance was zero on the life side of things, and work was grinding me to dust. EB itself was in a very precarious position, with GAME on the verge of shutdown and sales hitting the floor as the financial crisis worsened. I was so depressed I just couldn’t see any outcome that was positive, so I decided to just end it.
    Thankfully I sought help after a moment of clarity and managed to find another, much better job.
    There’s so much more to the story than that, as I haven’t mentioned the sexual harassment I witnessed from two of the area managers I worked with, the abusive area managers, the ruthlessness with casual’s jobs and pay, the joke of the integrity hotline, the non existant staff benefits, or the outright daylight robbery of pre-owned.

    tldr: EB was the worst job I ever had. I still have nightmares about it.

  • As a current EB manager (7 + yrs) I can confirm 2 things.
    This is a completely isolated case in this one store, in this one area with this one district manager, it does not speak for the entire chain. At all. There is obviously a lot of things behind the scenes concerning these 4 or 5 employees making these accusations that none of us are aware of- no matter what you read on this tabloid site. (I have met Mark on a few occasions as my understanding of him is the complete opposite of this article)
    Secondly, I can sympathize completely with this girls situation, but why are we looking at this alleged rape as if EB games endorsed it in some way ? This man is a criminal. We should be looking at him as this. Where he works is irrelevant- he has just used this as a tool to meet and prey on women. Any time you hear of a rape on the news do they ever mention where the man works? No. It doesn’t matter. He is a criminal. And should wear the consequences of his actions by police.

    I also want to add that never in my 7 years have I been harassed, bullied, made to feel unsafe or otherwise. EB is a family environment, but when a company has 4000+ people in its employ you are bound to get some which do not meet our high standards. I’m guessing the majority of these “ex eb” staff commenting here were those who were less than desirable staff members- move on. Get another job. This company has stood by me and my team through thick and thin and this article should be taken with the biggest grain of salt. Thank you

    • Nah man. I was a great employee. You know what I did wrong? I was born too early, and I started work under an earlier work contact which paid me more than other, newer, staff members.
      What I saw in the article is absolutely indicative of my experiences in the last 3 or so years I worked there. Experience and knowledge means sweet fuck all when people are willing to work for free and the company outright encourages it.

      • I have never made anyone work for free. Nor has any of the managers in my area. My staff have always been happy to help a little bit here and there to get the store looking great or finish a task, they do it for the love of the job, not for money- but you know what, I clock them on and pay them anyway. I don’t know which managers are “threatening” casuals to work for free or lose hours but I have never ever seen this. Our casual rates are above the standard industry hourly rate also so I don’t understand why they think they are underpaid

        • Aren’t the budgets going to be set by how much a store is expected to bring in? So some stores may have budget to cover the extra hours where as others won’t and will be forced to use unpaid work?

          • Not how it works. We get set a casual budget yes- if there is circumstances where we can’t stay within that budget (sale setups, midnight launches, extra busy day etc) we just overspend on payroll. It’s never an option to get people to just work for free- that’s ridiculous. It’s up to the store manager to make sure their roster is adequately covered and makes sense, but 99% of the time we are overspending on wages. You have to spend money to make money

        • It’s starting to sound a lot like the ‘isolated incidents’ are ones where the management weren’t exploitative. And not just in EB, but retail in general.

        • You just said you didn’t ever make anyone work for free the immediately follow up that they did.

          Did you never insist on paying those employees who stayed back? Or told them to go home? Then you’re responsible.

          As for the rape comment, you’re right EB isn’t to blame. Until she approached her manager, at which stage he has to take responsibility for his advice which scared her into silence.

          Her employer has a duty of care, as a manager you should know that.

          • If it had been one of my staff coming to me with a rape allegation- of course I would have helped her! Taking her to the police station myself if that’s what she needed. I cannot understand her line manager sweeping it under the rug- it doesn’t sound like something any reasonable person would do. I’m not saying she’s lying but I think this article is out of context and what happened that night and afterwards I’m sure is a situation of her side/his side and the truth.
            None of my staff were ever asked to work for free. When they did stay back, I paid them, end of story. I was saying that if they didn’t get paid they would do it anyway because they love their job! Is that so hard to believe? Everyone I’ve ever come across in this company is fairly paid.
            And as for the allegations against Mark DiStephano, finding out that these boys making these allegations MADE THE WHOLE THING UP and went running to Randy’s daddy who’s a lawyer to help them build a case against the company because they were bitter about getting fired for stealing really makes my blood boil. His name and reputation have been dragged through the mud for nothing. None of these thins happened. EVER. Bottom line. This entire article is bullshit and I’ve had enough of the abuse our staff are enduring online due to trolls that don’t even know what’s going on. Thank you kotaku for being mindless, gutless and misinformed EB obsessed haters

    • Isolated incident? There are 7 pages of discussion with MANY other former employees offering similar tales.

      Kotaku may have a sketchy record of games reporting, but you cant dismiss a SMH article into the same man. You can doubt (without any evidence I might add) the testimony of the 5 individuals – all of whom signed a stat dec and in doing so will face charges if lying – if you want thats your choice. I would suggest that going to the lengths of signing a stat dec would lend SOME credence to their statements.

      And you (willfully?) choose to ignore the secondary implication of the rape alligation. The way her complaint was handled on a store level AND the fact that EB have no dedicated internal HR service to handle this type of instance. That alone isnt good enough for a company of EB’s size.

      As for the aspersions you cast on other former employees… Well, lets just say that no wonder you’ve survived for as long as you have in EB’s management structure.

      and high standards? come off it mate. You’re a baseline retail outlet who hire teenagers (and other young people). If they had experience or training they wouldnt be working for you.

      • You are confusing Kotaku US with Kotaku AU. Mark Serrels does not have a sketchy record of games reporting.

    • You clearly have no idea this is not about one store this happens even in the warehouse (go spend 6 months inside then give everyone a review of what ita like then)

  • We need to be brutal on these assholes for sure. This is some shit and I left for footy training and there were no comments. Come back 3 hours later and I could tell from the comment counter what the main focus the comment section was about.

    Personally I’ve had no problems with my local EB and they’re the best shop I’ve come across but this puts things in a different perspective for me. Now I’m thinking if that nice employee was the one from the story or if she had that happen to her.

    To me it feels like they’re holding a gun to their heads (in the form of money and shifts) and forcing them to smile through their teeth in fear for work.
    It.
    Should.
    Not.
    Be like that.

    Reading through the comments I’m ashamed that I still buy from there. They honor price-matches and I guess that’s why I haven’t gone elsewhere. Until now. Thanks in part to this article (and your bloody comments you beasts) I’ll be canceling my pre-orders too.

    Let’s hope this gets somewhere and let’s make this a big deal because I’m absolutely disgusted at this.

  • Reminds me of the time I called up to complain about a Gametraders store and how the manager was behaving. It was all a joke to them.

    The store closed down not long after so karma’s a bitch.

    On the EB topic, they weren’t too bad ~10 years ago. There were a couple of stores with great managers that I went to regularly. I wish I could say the same these days.

  • Man, that sucks, but it’s not hard to believe. I’m always pressured into buying game guarantees, pre-orders and the like, by a person that I know outside of EB. They really must enforce that stuff vigorously.

    I’d also like to point out that I have been denied a job at EB Games on two separate occasions at two different stores, because “while I seem like a perfect addition to the EB Games staff, we unfortunately cannot accept someone who has been diagnosed with a disability”. Wow, geez. I’m on the high-functioning side of the autism/asperger’s spectrum and sometimes I get a little anxious and have a little bit of trouble comprehending things immediately and apparently that makes me derpy enough to not get a job there despite being a good fit.

    • I love the way they try and make you feel like you’re stupid if you don’t buy a game guarantee.

      • Yep, I like to buy bad games on occasion if I’ve got a spare ten bucks, and no, I couldn’t care less if the game stops working.

  • Well, it looks like EB has lost my future business, amongst others.

    This is absolutely appalling and disgusting. Their complete disregard of employee well-being and rights is utterly shameful. I’m sure the higher ups would have known about this and have done nothing about it after years of this happening.

    I hope staff and ex-employees get well deserved justice.

  • My son was sacked from EB after turning up to allocated meeting only to be told it had happened earlier and they sent a message to his FaceBook. They knew he didn’t have internet access at that time. Since when does a company use Facebook only and not pick up a phone to call their staff if they want to change a meeting time??????

  • I worked for EB games for near on 7 years, first as an ASM, then casual, then Store Manager/ASM (weird role). I can’t deny that a lot of what is said here is true, many worked for free due to constant impossible timelines (each sale requires the entire store to be changed… And we know they have a lot of sales.) that it was expected? Not so much… Mostly we did it because we were invested in our stores success, a sense of pride if you will. In no way am I saying any events described here are fabricated, but I can say they are not the norm! In my time I worked in more than 10 stores across VIC and WA and found a supportive, responsive environment where everyone was listened to and accommodated. My immediate area manager was a champion when it came to empathy, he even allowed me time off to deal with depression. He was amazing, but not unusual… The people described here, the bigoted nasty megalomaniacs… In my experience, that’s unusual. We worked hard, sometimes more than we should have, there were some difficult KPIs and a dodgy comparative (and too public) measurements of such but never did I see the company turn a blind eye to bullying as standard. Please don’t take up your pitchforks just yet…

  • Its a little concerning this story is running what is potentially a defamatory claim. The insinuation that EB’s unpaid hours (which is a labour issue) is somehow correlated with an allegation of rape is pretty dangerous. You might be linking it to a story about pay issues but really the article reads as though A is intended to equal B. EB may not have an HR team but i’d wager they can hire a law firm pretty quickly.

    • Not at all hard to follow. The title is, “When the dream job becomes a nightmare.”

      Examples of the job becoming a nightmare are provided. Pay. Racism. Rape. All separate.

      The common thread linking them is the dream job became a nightmare.

      You’re really reaching to find an objection.

      • the fact that they named the apparent bad boss is in extremely poor taste and poor journalism. There are many questionable things being raised here, some VERY serious, potentially not being handle by someone who may not understand the ramifications of over stepping.

        EB Games needs to be seriously looked at, we all know its a dog. But there is a right way and a wrong way of looking at such things. Especially context of such things as rape.

  • Although I doubt EB is the only store operating under these conditions I certainly hope EB are made to be an example and are severely punished for this. I hope somehow this comes back to bite them, but I’d not be surprised if it never does, that’s pure exploitation that they’re engaging in.

  • I worked at EB in Toowoomba for four years and it was fantastic. Our area manager was extremely friendly, typical over energetic suit type, but he was always genuinely nice. Store manager was a great dude, we hung out and played guitar on weekends a lot. Some horrendous things going on in other parts of the company though, obviously.

    Seems unreasonable to try and lay any blame for the rape on the company though, it’s not their fault one of their employees turned out to be a barely human scumbag. The manager she reported it too is also a spineless waste of a man, it disgusts me that it’s such a common way to react to that situation.

    • Grand Central store? The odd occasion I enter that store is pleasant, staff were really helpful (particularly with my issue with TLOU I mentioned on another page of this article)

    • I don’t think it was suggested EB was to blame for the rape. The issue is the employee reached out for help from a superior and was essentially told there was nothing they could do.

  • I was an assistant store manager at a high volume EB games store for 2 years and worked for for the company close to 4 years. This article is so on point with how EB runs and treats its staff, and is more and less the reasons i quit earlier this year. I had several sit down meetings with my area manager about the amount of unpaid overtime I was doing, to his responses “like it or leave it, everyone’s replaceable”. Unpaid overtime is expected of you, if you tried to work a 38 hour week your job would be on the line… Also it’s impossible to work a standard week when the average shift begins at 8:30am and finished at 6pm with a 30min unpaid break (if you have time to take it) this doesnt include sale set up, meetings, midnight launches, late night trading etc. If it wasn’t for the people I worked with I don’t think I would have lasted more than a year.

  • Disappointing to hear employees sometimes not being paid at midnight launches, I’ve been more than a half dozen and never seen them in shitty moods from being forced to work for free.

    Thanks for putting on a brave face and letting us enjoy the night.

  • Oh boy, another few bad experiences and the media makes it sound like its the same issue for everyone.
    I have become friends with quite a few (20 or so) EB employees of all different ranks. From new employee to store manager.
    Not once did any of them complain about the stuff mentioned in this article and I have had quite a few chats about their work. Mainly as I wish to work at EB games one day.
    Their only issue is the midnight releases and the fact that they often have more temptation to spend money at the store because they work there and see all the fancy new games constantly.

    • You do not want to work at EB Games. Been there, done that. It’s possible that you’ll get a good store and a good manager / team but trust me, working there is bad for your soul.

  • I think i have just had a life time ban placed on me from all EB stores by myself. This reminds me too much of corporate shit heads exploiting the pyramid from my time at liquorland.

  • *does his best total biscuit impersonation*
    The thing is, guy and gals, is that australia has a lack of choice to buying games for the following reason:
    1. Importing games is not very good since a. Multiple companies make aussie pay more to import them and b. Preordering only reinforces the dodgy practices behind it
    2. Department stores, which used to be a good place to get games, have gone back to minimally selling games in a practice that is similar to what happened after the great video game crash in the early 80’s, as they only seek profits, i can tell because i went to 2 of them in rosebud and only target was selling few games
    3. The lack of variety of gaming boutique stores in suburban areas and country areas, even if you have a dicks smith, you will be guaranteed that there will be minimal games.
    4. This article on eb games got me angry joe levels of angry, as THE ONLY legit way to get physical copy of games AND recharge your online store account is eb games, so now knowing how UNETHICAL THEY ARE TO THEIR OWN STAFF makes me wonder if they are only interested in money.
    and my final one
    5. If you live in country areas, you will know about the lack of internet access and very slow download speeds, the use of nero and limewire demonstrated it, up to a week for downloads, this is not good if you want to play online games or download games from online stores ie steam sales, so ebgames could be the ONLY choice to get games from.
    In conclusion these factors have made ebgames very unethical in their treatment of workers due to greed and lack of competition from game stores, so if you do love physical copies of games in an area that is not very populated, the only places is eb games
    *ends total biscuit impersonation*

  • Ex-EB store manager here, did a 4 year stint in stores starting as a casual and worked my way up to store manager. I worked at 5 different stores in my day, all for different area managers and store managers.

    I can certainly say the situations reported here are not the norm, far from it.

    I recall my first 18 months working as a casual. I was paid for nearly every hour I worked. The times I didn’t get paid were mostly because I enjoyed helping out the team the customers, we were all gamers at the end of the day. I went to midnight launches, which I was paid for. I went to stock takes, which I was paid for. I went to the occasional district training meeting which I wasn’t paid for but it helped me improve my sales skills, in turn lifting my KPI’s. This helped me get a full time position.

    When I got to a full time salary position, which was assistant store manager, I remember signing my full time employment contract, which clearly stated that I may be required to work outside of normal store hours on occasion, such as stock takes, sales/training meetings and so on. I agreed to it knowingly.

    Anyone here complaining about working outside of normal store hours probably should have read their employment contract…. it was clearly stated, you had to sign it and agree to it if you wanted the job. The pay was average, but no worse than any other full time retail position on the sales floor, better than the job I had at Big W, and certainly much, MUCH better than when I was in hospitality.

    However, twice a year back then, the company would fly all us to an internal conference, usually at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast, which was a few days of training, a few days of hands on with unreleased games, plus several nights of partying. On top of that, a nice amount of free games chucked in and the occasional console to take home. That made it fairly worth while, at least for me.

    Out of all the stores I worked at, I had no issues with my co-workers. My area managers were all fine, one was pretty unsupportive but not a bad guy, but the rest all had their hearts in it and genuinely cared about their teams.

    Bad eggs are everywhere, I never got to see or deal with one during my tenure though. I enjoyed my time with EB, as did most of the people I know who moved on (not fired or given no casual hours because they didn’t cut it with their KPI’s).

    If that area manager in the story is as bad as he’s being made out to be, he’d be gone a long time ago. If he’s not, something else is going on behind the scenes than Kotaku is reporting. People like that don’t stay employed for very long, anywhere… And if he’s nothing like how he’s being made out to be, shame on Kotaku for dragging his name through the mud.

    Two sides to every story.

    • Of course! They didn’t pay people to do it and threatened them with replacement if they didn’t toe the line! Why didn’t I think of that?

      Oh, that’s right. Because I’m a fucking human being, not a soulless monster.

  • Not sure if this has been said but why did no one go to the office of fair trades ? thats what they are for to protect employees

  • Welcome to the Australian workforce, where bosses demand their pound of flesh, and if you are unwilling to give yourself over to the company, every indiscretion however minor will be noted, and you’ll be micromanaged out of a job.

    You simply can’t afford to rock the boat in this current environment. You will be scrutinized and made a pariah. You could bring in union representatives but that will ultimately lead you down a path of leaving the job one way or another.

  • This is the kind of investigative journalism that we need more of. I hope that both EB Games and Mark D get what they deserve if this is true. If you work your hours you should be paid for it and not feel threatened that your job can be taken at anytime. Every EBGames staff member I’ve dealt with has always been an absolute pleasure. The fact they get paid so little and face this extortion and abuse, it’s absolutely disgusting. Good job Kotaku

  • Hey this article reminds me of the woman I know that got drunk and raped by a manager at an EB Games managers conference, and how all the company managers, directors, and so on would go to strip clubs at these management conferences and then the next day have brainstorming sessions about why they don’t have any female employees.

    Also, as an assistant manager, I remember having to do all this unpaid overtime (the manager did too). We would work 8:30-5:30 (sorry, actually until 6:30 because we had to close up prepare for the night), come back at 9:00pm, close at 2:00am, and come back at 8:00am the next morning. None of the extra work paid for. One midnight launch my manager let me leave early at 4pm the day following the midnight launch, and the district manager tore her a new one because, “midnight launches are part of the job, and you will get time off on your day off.”

    Day off? Oh the joys of working Sundays when under 18’s would get penalty rates and earn more than me, having to work public holidays because casuals cost too much, and not getting penalty rates or an extra day off for it. Or the time I was sick of a few days, the district manager rang my manager to ask for my number, then called me telling me that if I didn’t come back soon that any extra days off would come out of my annual leave. I remember the time I worked 7 days in a row setting up some stupid sale, then the district manager asked if I could work an extra day to help finish – I told him no, that I had plans, to which he responded he was, ‘very disappointed’. Casuals had to stay back and help close the store, even if we got out half an hour or an hour later – I didn’t get paid because it was part of my contract, casuals didn’t get paid because they were rostered on until closing time.

    There is so much more, but half the staff will disagree… why? Because they are a bunch of company shills that have bought into this whole ‘ethos’ bullshit and working for this company is basically their life.

  • This is how it was when I was working there in 2008. I made changes and ensured staff were paid to open and close. When I left the area manager and store manager tried to change it back so the staff werent paid to stay after close to clean up- they were told however that it was expected. Upon my advice they ALL walked out when the store closed as they were not being paid, and thus not officially covered by workcare or insurance should anything happen. Multiple times I had to work 12-16hr days in preparation for sales days, as our budget could not cover casual hours. I was told to work more to reduce the casual wage being used. Horrible company – and the hr roles are filled by the area managers.

  • I was a store manager and acting area manager of Game in the UK in 1999 at the time of the takeover. Virtually all Game managers jumped ship within 6 months, nobody wanted to work for EB. Game used to be a great company that valued their staff, cared about their working conditions and importantly had great customer service. Post-EB, staff became expendable & payroll budgets were cut, and customer service went out the window, plus of course the stores started looking like shit when EB took over the marketing/dispays. Nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing EB burn to the ground, I loved my old job and I’m still bitter about how it turned out!

  • I used to work at EB Games and can confirm that all the allegations are a usual occurrence in the store I worked for. Always had the “Assistant Manager” position dangled above my head. Some hours were unpaid, and a lot of complaints went unnoticed. Also, shifts were always given to young, attractive females as “girls make sales”, which may be true, but based on the KPI system, I was always above them in rankings. Also, I disclosed a few personal reasons to my manager as to why I left the store, hoping it was in confidence, but I found out he had another manager on the phone to listen to the entire conversation.

    This article, and my words, are 100% fact. I would not recommend for anyone to work at EB Games.

  • Yeah this stuff really does happen there unfortunately … I remember during my time there I was desperate for a promotion (doing all those free hours) and my dad passed away from cancer. I took 2 days off (including the day he died) and an extra day for his funeral but I was back at work as normal the rest of the time, barely took a breath to grieve at the time … to this day I havent a clue why I did it. Its like you get this weird Stockholm Syndrome/cult mindset and you just do it because you wouldnt want to let the team down or lose your job. Its incredible looking back at the utter madness of it all.

  • F#%K EB mate.

    Steam, target, Big W, JBHIFI, GreenmanGames, OzGameShop – all cheaper, most have same deals, all have same release dates.

    Who is this Distefano? I’d love to meet him. Couldn’t find him in half an hour of facebook searching.

  • I feel sorry for the staff involved in the mentioned incidents though personally working at EB Games for a short period I have enjoyed a fantastic work environment. Hopefully these incidents are isolated within a certain region.

  • Not to say this article is invalid, but man the turn with Haylee’s story made me stop. The overarching discussion on “EB Managers are dicks.” then out of nowhere Rape story….. I stopped reading cos much like Haylee’s experience with EB went bad to worse. Ugh.

    I do however wonder the real placement of that part of the story, It was very EB focused until a EB colleague/friend raped her, what is the article trying to say since it built up the event and everything that led to this horrible thing. Is it trying to say EB are rapists? not just this one asshole of a guy?

    Horrible thing to happen to her but I question the use of the horrific story and how it was put in this article. If It was a gang of EB managers and the company kept it hush hush and fired her….that’s an EB is evil story. But….it was a rapist who works for EB and Haylee unfortunately had to find that out.

    • That is a long bow to draw. The article is showing one of many ways that “the dream job becomes a nightmare”, not equating working with EB to being a rapist.

    • Said it a few times but basically:

      If one employee reports another employee raped them you know have a duty of care to resolve.

      Not doing so leaves you negligent.

      Beyond that allowing rampant sexual harassment ingrains it into the culture, increasing the chances of it happening again.

  • Working in retail over ten years I’ve experienced same things with unpaid overtime and stock takes etc. This is not an EB thing. JB HIFI do it to the same degree if not worse from people I’ve known to work there. Harvey Norman same Boat. Unfortunately this is just part of working retail.

    Abuse should never be part of the workplace, stamp that shit out. Although slamming a guy by name in article seems Libel to me. Iv’e worked with my fair share of fuckheads that deserved to be fired and then have caused shit for bosses and stores alike, how can you be sure this is not the case? Hope your facts are straight and can be backed up.

    As for the rape allegation it should be taken to the police. It is not a company matter but a matter of the law. Where they work has nothing to do with it. Her boyfriend should have convinced her to see the police. Why her manager???? Makes no sense to me.

    Bad eggs should be removed from the company but by boycotting Eb games and cancelling your preorders you wont be helping the little guys. If anything all those poor little casuals will just loose shifts because there isn’t enough profits to put them on.

    • Strange. The jb I worked at paid for every stocktake for 3 years. Never worked an hour over 38 for the week and that seemed like common practice in south-east Queensland.

    • It states in the article re: the rape allegation that Hayley didn’t want to go to the police, which isn’t uncommon. Regardless, sexual harassment allegations within the company should have a clear escalation policy so that staff can appropriately escalate without feeling like they are the ones in trouble.

    • Unfortunately this is just part of working retail.
      It needs to be scrutinized, proven, and fined to fuckery so that it is no longer ‘just part of working retail’. EB seems like a pretty good place to start.

      • This ^

        If this destroys EB as a company I’m quite happy with that.

        Stick their head on a spike, tell other businesses that consumers will not support this kind of abuse and they might think twice before exploiting someone else.

  • Had a friend who was pretty much bullied out of her store by the area manager. Have only shopped there for exclusive collector’s editions since, but this article really has me doubting whether I want to do even that in the future.

    I also have no reason to believe this article is unsubstantiated, poorly researched, or written out of spite. Mark is an incredible journalist (gaming or otherwise) and his investigative pieces have always been of the highest standard and integrity. Doubters need to remember that he is putting his name and reputation on the line with an article like this.

  • Ive seen the possible borrowing that can occur, its mad. At my local EB hobart recently, saw a preowned copy of dying light, then saw a new copy, i two to eachother, “new” copy was in worse condition!

  • In the time I worked there I was intimidated frequently by management. I never got paid for a single midnight launch and I worked past my alloted hours every day.
    When a new girl was hired an employee asked what she was like. The manager said “Not bad. Nice tits.”
    I heard he was fired later, but only after my hours were cut completely.

  • I agree with this completely, when I was quitting I was told that Id be offered assistant manager in a month if I stayed. When I quit I was told by other staff they put do not rehire on my documents…
    The place is great to work for while you’re oblivious to the actuality of it all, after that, it’s hell. I love the place and the staff but higher ups and beyond are horrible people.

  • Yo. Made an account so i could have a say here. 4 year eb casual employee, male, worked from 20-24 years old.

    A few months ago i quit my job at eb, because I dont play computer games anymore and I just no longer cared about the company (it was quite soul crushing and NOT a dream job, for similar reasons to the article above). But by and large, the abuse thing from area managers is real. Obviously I was never raped, but that’s really messed up and I hope something happens to that dog of a human being (someone should release that fuckers information) but I definitely copped it verbally from an area manager named Abe a few times. I was sworn at but was never threatened. I would have literally walked out on the job if it had escalated, after trashing the store.

    The extra hours thing is very VERY true as well. I made a point to never, EVER be taken advantage of during my time as an employee, but boy did they try! Luckily, I had good relationships with my store managers, but they where put under immense pressure from above to get us in there for unpaid work. Sale set ups, midnight launches, weekends, public holidays, it was crazy. I never did it once, but I was asked on a monthly basis. My store was a rather quiet one, which is probably why i was never threatened with being fired.

    All in all i quit that job because the people absolutely suck. Some staff even take advantage of customers when they can, to a point where they are robbing regular customers of money with ridiculous “game guarantees”, which half the time other employees didn’t even fucking redeem! Honest employees at EB games are few and far between, EB world, pre orders, aforementioned game guarantees, not to mention OVERPRICED GAMES (the amount of people that never price matched…. wow), it is all bullshit and i hope no one ever shops there again!

    • That’s odd when I worked as a casual for EB for a few years Abe was my area manager too but he was nothing but awesome to myself. I worked at a ridiculously busy store and was never threatened with being fired. I only left to pursue my uni degree.

    • Holy crap! I got a casual role at EB Pac Fair on the Gold Coast many years ago. I had originally worked at a Canberra EB a few years before (money desperation made me go back. Bad decision). Would that be the same Abe dude? If so, that dude was a complete asshole! I did one shift and never went back. He was the pits. He never said/did anything to me, but the way he spoke to his 2IC, I was like ‘Nope, I’m outta here’. I don’t generally have too much of a problem with cursing, but in an open store, full of customers, yelling ‘F**k’ and ‘C**t’ at your 2IC just isn’t on. He was a prick.

    • Yeah, let’s also excuse muggings because people should grow a spine and fight back.

      Shouldn’t be happening in the first place, there is a clear wrong here, and the blame should be assigned appropriately.

      • How are muggings even related to this, These people are allowing themselves to become slaves then moaning that they didn’t do anything to stop it. They could simply leave and they wouldn’t have to deal with the shitty conditions or instead of whining on the internet they could go to the fair work commission.

        • How are they related? Because it’s an analogy for the underlying power dynamic.
          That’s why analogies exist. Because to more accurately describe the things that other things are like, you could only describe those things.

          It’s about Power, Scotty.

          Why would you let a mugger mug you? Why wouldn’t you just stand up for yourself or walk away?
          Because they hold power. Be it physical size, aggression, or a weapon… The consequences would be bad for you, thanks to the power differential.

          Why would you let an employer abuse you? Why wouldn’t you just stand up for yourself or walk away?
          Because they hold power. The power to make you unemployed. The consequences would be bad for you, thanks to the power differential.

          When you are out on your own, not living off parents, being unemployed is a dire situation. Centrelink unemployment benefits are woefully insufficient to fund a modern life even without luxury, when you factor in utilities, rent, food, car expenses, and god help you if you have children.

          Employers can wield the threat of unemployment the way a mugger wields a knife, to get what they want. And THAT is where this is not the fault of the casuals who desperately comply, hoping it will get better. It is the fault of the employer.

          That is how muggings are related.

          Don’t go blaming the victims for not having the power in this situation. …Or not wanting to exercise what power they have. They can exercise their rights, take industrial action, but unfortunately, it’s a risk. And understandably, some don’t feel they can afford that risk.

        • hahaha, yeah. The Fair Work Commission, among the laziest and least ineffectual groups in Australia. They ignore any complaints until they have a class action suit, I’ve asked them for help numerous times and only been told “we’ll follow it up” and I never hear from them again.

  • I was a manager of EB Games for a good 3+ years. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I feel bad for the cases written above, but I also feel bad for the company that’s being painted red from just a couple of highlighted cases.

    I did ‘some unpaid overtime’, but I also got my Time in Lieu for it. Why? Because I put my foot down and pointed out on paper where it says you either pay me for my Public Holiday time, and Over Time, or I don’t work.

    None of my casuals worked time without being paid, and neither of my two Assistant Managers worked without getting their fair Time in Lieu either. I can’t speak for all the other Managers / Assistant Managers in the state I worked in, but after working at McDonald’s during Highschool where you’re paid by the minute, I wasn’t going to give EB Games too much of my time for free.

    It’s unfortunate that the above cases happened, but in both cases the correct authorities should have been contacted sooner, and neither of the relevant authorities were the company in question. I know if my boss was ‘regularly hurling racial abuse at me’ whatever device in my pocket would be recording every damn shift. But that’s the kind of person I am I guess.

    inb4nophoneinpocketrule: I’ll keep it in my damn pocket 24/7 thank you. And until it interferes with my work, no company has manged to take it out of my pocket.

    • I did ‘some unpaid overtime’, but I also got my Time in Lieu for it. Why? Because I put my foot down and pointed out on paper where it says you either pay me for my Public Holiday time, and Over Time, or I don’t work.

      Those are not the actions of a good company being unfairly dragged through the mud. They were trying to do something illegal and then backed off when you made it clear you understood your rights as a worker. If I were to refuse to install safety barriers until an employee points out that they can have my business shut down over it, that makes me a jerk who is smart enough to know when he’s beat not a good guy.

  • Having found my experiences validated by those of other ex-employees I will add my voice to the chorus.I worked at an EB in WA for a brief period(6 months) around 2011-2012. I have also worked other jobs before and since. I can wholeheartedly say that the ‘ethos’ behind EB was in direct contradiction to what I thought was morally right and/or best for customers or myself. This in itself is not unique to retail, businesses exist to make profit and making profit involves selling. Just forget any moral obligations about fleecing mothers/grandmothers/people out of money for ostensibly useless add-ons (the easiest way to make your KPI’s !!). The business model they employee is ruthless and they do not give two-fucks about you, the customer (trust me).

    Unpaid overtime was expected and framed as team-building. Ridiculous KPI’s were set that seemed to be based solely on some kind of gypsy profit maths that replaced sound business models with a big shiny dollar sign and straight up bullshit incentives.

    The cute girl was given the majority of hours/promotion because ad-verbatim “nerds will give more money to cute girls”. I imagine this is common to many industries, regardless fuck EB. Nothing destroys morale like knowing that you are working in an environment that thinks meritocracy is an DLC expansion for dragon age.

    Could go on, won’t. Just quickly; to those who are saying “how could you not just quit etc”, stop reducing complex situations down to simplified moral reasoning. You know what doesn’t pay rent?. Pride.

  • why go to that store in Robina when jb hifi is right next door with cheaper prices? The previous manager at that eb was a lot nicer, don’t like the current one . I have noticed the staff changes there quite frequently… Now I know why 🙁

    • The Gamesmens game are computer games! (or whatever the jingle was)

      I used to play footy around near their original store at Penshurst. Always used to drop in up until 7 years ago. It used to be the only place like it (pre EB). Family run, friendly guys and girls. Walked the floor, helped parents

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QauC3MnAtYU

      Used to be my main store, but I forgot about them now. I feel bad. I live Inner West now so it’s not far.

      I think I’ll sign up to this…. when I’m not buying digitally (which is kinda always).

  • You’re an absolute scumbag, Keon. It’s because of people like you that we have king-hit/coward punch victims every week in the streets of Australia.

    Violence is *never* justified except in the defense against same.

  • a cassual worker can be fired for any reason, no proof required, the simple answer of “we don’t have any shifts for you” is sadly legally acceptable (I’m talking in australia). Unless that casual employment relationship has been continous for more than 2 years with no single month without a shift.

    • You’d be surprised. I couldn’t stand it myself but I know a lot of people who absolutely thrive in retail. They work in a nice store with people they get along with, or at least maintain a professional relationship with, the pay is nice and they don’t bring their work home with them. That’s why you see so many people here claiming these are isolated incidents that don’t represent their EB experience. They worked in good stores and had a great enough time that they’d actually go out of their way to defend the company.

  • This is absolute crap. I worked at EB for seven and a half years as a casual. In my stint I worked across several stores and not once has there been a bad experience. Every single manager is fantastic and to this day I still keep in contact with some. I’ve worked with Mark before and all allegations against him are completely false and this is clearly done by employees that want to attack him and his image.

    Shame on you kotaku for allowing such an article to be published. Will never read anything from you guys again.

  • If you work unpaid hours. Don’t. Easy.
    Don’t be a pushover, you won’t get anywhere in life.

    • It’s not “easy”. It’s, as the article stated “do it, or we replaced you.” Money pays the bills, pride doesn’t.

  • Well its all good for some i can tell u its a nightmare behind the scenes there are things that go on inside the main headquarters that you would have to experience for yourself go spend 4 and half years in there putting up with lots of things you would come out a different person
    Being in the store is totally different to working in the warehouse

  • I worked at EB for over 5 years on and off, and I can confirm a ton of what is in this article. Naturally things can differ from store-to-store, being retail, but the company overall is total trash. I left, and found a job that pays triple the amount and appreciates me being there.

    EB Games was easily the worst job I’ve ever had.

  • And the posts keep coming.

    It’s not surprising that some ex or current employees post a positive experience at EB. Ultimately, it comes down to your colleagues and managers but the sheer fact that apart from the article itself there are plenty of posters who share they had the same bad time there, it seems pretty evident that the ethos at EB from the top down is rotten to the core.

    I buy my PC games off Steam generally, but after inheriting an Xbox360, I have been taking full advantage of the trade-ins at EB. I won’t be doing that anymore. Whilst it does occur to me that hurting EB’s sales mean that they will be even less willing to spend money on casuals, the management need to be shown that their work principles and bullying tactics are not acceptable to those of us who fund their expense accounts.

    Great article, Mark. Kudos for the courage of Kotaku to put this issue out in the public domain, and I hope it is a a catalyst for change….

  • Just because you didn’t experience it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
    I for one experienced a lot of these things during my time at EB. I quit because the conditions we’re fucking appalling. Honestly i would not be surprised if you’re just one of EBs PR people trying to damage control.
    You’re attitude of ” it doesn’t happen to me so it doesn’t happen anywhere else in the company!” is one of the biggest problems.

  • This article isn’t surprising, sadly. EB have had a horrible reputation for nigh on 10 years+

    They’re a cancer, for both customers and employees. I’d love to see them go under. It begs disbelief as to why anyone shops there. They provide zero incentive and yet continue to stay afloat – good to see people are waking up!

    To be honest, I would have given that bloke a good hard smack in the face. I don’t tolerate that kind of shit. I feel for these people, I’ve experiences with other game stores as a customer that I could have quite easily gotten a credit card fraud investigation going. I settled out of court in the end, but I was originally out of pocket $500.

    Won’t name the store but it involved an XB360 HDD Itraded in and due to my console being busted I couldn’t wipe it before trading it in. I was told numerous times that wiping them before resale is standard practice. 4 months later I see $500 worth of XBL transactions on my statement. They never wiped the HDD and someone had logged into my account, then used my credit card.

    Complained to the store and got called a liar by the owners. So I name and shamed them on the official XBL forum. 2 hours later I got a call from the third in command at head office offering compensation. Offered me a few PS2 games – no way bud, I want ever dollar back.

    In the end, we negotiated and came to an agreement. Part of which meant both of us signing a Stat Dec and posting on the forum that they had compensated me. Haven’t shopped at an aussie store for games since then (10 yrs agp). Everything I buy is an import.

    • You traded in a console and didn’t format it first?

      On top of that, It had your Credit Card Information and you didn’t format it?

      Well then….

      • If the console doesn’t boot up how are you meant to format it without specific tools exactly?

  • Thanks for bring this to our attention Kotaku, such an important issue to bring to the communities attention to really make consumers think “do i really want to preorder at EB to get that exclusive DLC preorder bonus” when they have such a toxic culture towards their staff that goes against the Australian way.

  • I have a hard time believing a lot of what has happened in this article in regards to workplace standards. The rape by a co-worker is the one exception, which could happen anywhere and is truly awful. However, no internal hr? Well, that just can’t be true, unless Australia has some incredibly lax labour laws, which is just a whole other issue (I worked in a Canadian store). Not getting paid for 3 hours a shift? Nearly impossible. You cannot legally be fired for refusing to work for free in Canada, I can’t imagine there’s much difference in Australia.

    Just a tip for those who may want to work at EB – its really not a “gamer’s paradise” it’s a retail store whose number one motivation is making money. That’s it. That’s why they sell you those bullshit warranties and GTA is still $60 six months after release. Once you get past that, you might be okay.

    I was a non-gamer working at EB because I needed a job and had worked in a record store before which qualified as previous experience. I can honestly say it was the most incredibly relaxed job I ever had. I talked to nerdy kids about the things they loved most and it was usually pretty fun. Our District Manager was an absolute prick, to be sure, but that’s kind of their job. Plus, in the 3 years I worked there I had 4 different DMs (they were all fired). These assholes’ jobs are on the line constantly so I get why they’re so shitty and I have some great stories about their asshattery, but regardless I was never threatened with being replaced. That would be illegal, and if that ever happens to you, you should contact HR immediately and, if necessary, the labour board (or Australian equivalent).

    In conclusion, I find that either most of this story is fabricated, or that Australian labour laws are abhorrent.

    • It’s not so much that the laws are abhorrent as much as there are loopholes large enough to drive a major corporation’s casualized workforce through, coupled with an unemployment rate high enough to make getting paid for half the work you do look like a more attractive prospect than not working at all.

      It leads to situations where ‘casual’ employees are really meant to be in the minority – a stop-gap contract taken on short-term to fill in gaps where required. In practice, the ‘casual’ employee who can be terminated on the spot without notice is actually the norm, hired for months to even years, held on under this supposedly ‘temporary’ agreement as a gateway to a permanent/long-term contract.

      The fact that this is happening everywhere is a major factor behind the erosion of respect for anything we might once have known as ‘job security’/’respect for employees’.

    • It is completely true that they have no internal HR, as crazy as it sounds. I am an ex employee and trying to get anything from the non-existent HR ws insane. It quite literally does not exist.
      The pressure, abuse and unpaid hours all align with my experience as well.

      The story isn’t fabricated, and the labour laws need a lot of work and easier ways for employees to report abuse.

  • Someone needs to go in with a hidden camera as an “employee” and get some proof of this happening.

        • Look at where they do the filming.

          As long as where the filming is done is deemed a public area, it’s not considered illegal surveillance.

          But if what is happening happens in (say) a tea room and is filmed and the person being filmed is now aware then it is illegal.

          Heads up, I’m no lawyer so there is a possibility I’m wrong in this case (other cases though, I’m impeccable).

  • Why does one guy have to start early and finish late in order to get the job done?
    Sounds like a time management issue to me.

  • Cant say I’m surprised. I know a prominent aussie youtuber who worked at an EB for a short time over Christmas one year. She told me that some stock had gone missing and it was believed that an employee had taken it. The response was that all of the casual staff would be fired if the culprit didn’t own up by a certain date.

  • Disgusting conduct by a company that I wasn’t fond of to begin with. Will never shop their again. The fact that statutory declarations and specific names were used lends a lot of credibility to this story.

  • THIS IS ALL a bunch of bull shit i have worked for the company 3 years and never heard of anything like this ever. Get paid for all the hours i do and have a wonderful time with this job.

    • Very funny ‘guest poster’ (Mark?) , and I guess all the other employees and ex employees are just making stuff up.

  • My local EB Store at Forest Lake, Queensland is great. Staff have always bent over backwards to help me. To all the customers who complain about the staff if you are an EB World customer then from time to time you will get a survey regarding the store you shopped at. Thats your chance to either praise someone or complain. Trust me when i say they do read them.

    • How would a customer survey in any way help when staff aren’t being paid and are being abused. What are you talking about?

      • Those surveys greatly help as they directly influence the “WOW” part of the kpi, higher WOW = more shifts. Low WOW = less shifts/no job. So basically if you ever get those surveys, please do them as they do dictate who gets shifts and who doesn’t.

  • While some of these things are horrible what gives you the right to name the boss involved in these accusations by name? I could tell you a whole list of horrible things my boss does (or more correctly) APPARENTLY that doesn’t make him guilty of everything, nor does anything he does to annoy me justify my need to publicly name and shame him without means to defend. It just means I COULD just have an axe to grind. Even if I am (or believe I am) on the side of angels. I am not saying that about the employee is lying, but truth is sometimes way more complicated.

    I think someone needs to go back to journalism school or at least learn the fundamentals of what industry is supposed to be like, when you put things like this out there. Even if this is a blog type site some things should still be handled with restraint. Even criminals (or bad boss like here) should deserve to be presumed innocent. Did I miss the part where you said you changed the names of everyone involved?

    Naming him adds nothing to the story but distracts from the rest of the information, to anyone reading this with some form of maturity (and doesnt want to just grab a pitchfork and flame and go on a witch hunt). I have doubt doubt EB is bad and I know that first hand.

    • Better revisit what you think you know about journalism – responsible or otherwise.

      For starters, DiStefano was already called out for this behaviour in a SMH article, reported on as part of a complaint publicly lodged with the Human Rights Commission and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. So that’s out there, already, and relevant to the story. He’s been ‘named’.
      Mark just did some extra digging to get some stories, anecdotes, included as part of a broader piece which supports the headline: A dream job can become a nightmare.

      This piece isn’t about DiStefano, but he’s definitely referenced. And it’s certainly not news that’s being broken here.

      Secondly, pay close attention. The employees are quoted as themselves. Where direct quotes aren’t used, actions are described as alleged. The boxes are being ticked, here. The t’s crossed, the i’s dotted. This is how it works. Mark’s not casting a judgement. He’s giving a voice to the only people who cared to speak. EB have said their piece, and because they used canned corporate blah-speak, it comes across as saying nothing. They had their chance, they didn’t take it.

      Journalism is now, always has been, about what people are doing and what people are saying. In this case, some EB (former)employees are saying something pretty important to important people, and signing important documents to that effect. There’s no way that isn’t ‘news’.

      Now, you and I know that the Internet Hate Machine is a little nastier and a lot cleverer, their pitchforks a lot sharper than the A Current Affair couch-mob’s. You might be arguing in favour of protecting a man who is not yet proven guilty from the rage of the self-righteous basement-dweller… but his name is already out there. The cost of effort to uncover that isn’t worth the cost to the integrity of the story itself.

      If you’re perceiving that this is being taken as a rallying cry by Kotaku against DiStefano, that’s your perception, coloured by the reactions of what looks to be numerous dissatisfied current/former EB staff relieved that this information is coming out, and gamers horrified that they could have been unknowingly complicit in such an aggressively and unfairly exploitative situation.

      And in the context of how these examples fit a pattern of reprehensible corporate culture, not only is this reference to an existing, reported-on case salient, it is the responsible course to underline the seriousness of what’s happening. Names make it real. They point to a case which is being talked about, about how seriously it’s being taken. How bad the nightmare dream-job can get.

      You might actually find that the MORE responsible option is naming the one individual who has a complaint lodged against them.
      Understand: Doing this, restricting the allegations to one complaint, confines the ire of the public to this one named individual as opposed to the real ‘witch-hunt’ you describe that would result from obfuscating that information as, “A manager who will be unnamed.”

      If you got your way and DiStefano had not been named, gamers could be turning their ire to ALL EB managers in something much closer to the ‘witch hunts’ of old. Is that really what you think is the lesser evil, here?

      • yeah but look closer at that story on SMH and it is in fact just a reprint by a smaller local paper. To say nothing of the highly question journalism standards SMH have been suffering from for the last few years, thanks to many cut backs.

        Within the same google search you will find a link to someone hysterical post on Facebook to EB games, which open the floods gates to (yes) as you state and we both now the internet flood gates to the HATE machine.

        What gives any of these people the right to go into lynch mode based on nothing what they have read, without any proof or corroboration?

        I just feel by naming someone as this article did, it distracted from the whole overall read. People are too simple minded these days they want a face to direct the upset. Ultimately this ‘villain’ of the piece should have been EB Games. It should have focused on the fact that it is a faceless international beast of a company, run like a franchise. One in which badness is allowed to thrive. But as a corporation doesnt have a face, it seems like the only reason to name him is to supply a ‘villian’. I dont need to be given a name so I dont let every other boss in the whole corporation take the hits, I am a grown up and realise EB is much more like a hydra. To really take it out (or take responsibility) one needs to go to the body. And they arent at a regional level.

        • Hydra wasn’t killed by attacking the body.

          Attacking each head as it grew then preventing healing. Kind of alters your metaphor 😛

        • So you’re telling me that you believe no alleged criminals should ever be named once formal proceedings have begun against them?
          You think that’s TRUE journalistic standards at work?
          There’s a reason the general public is very familiar with the word ‘alleged’ and what it means and it’s not thanks to law school.

          The ‘public figure vs private figure’ complaint does not apply here, either.

          It would if Kotaku were digging through DiStefano’s garbage or looking into his private life for gossip, talking about whether he cheats on his partners or mocking his hobbies or body-shape, but this is not gossip. Formal accusations submitted as stat decs are not gossip. We’re so far past that. What’s being examined here are formal proceedings against him and a recounting of the allegations against him.

          Keeping wrong-doers safe from the ‘hate machine’ is not the responsibility of journalists. Otherwise nothing controversial or even mildly-upsetting would ever be reported. Injustice would never be brought to light to exert the public pressure that politicians need to bother doing anything about it.

          A journalist’s responsibility is to reporting on events of public interest (which this IS), to quoting accurately so that there is no misunderstanding about who is saying what (with a degree of due diligence to their veracity – which you cannot argue hasn’t been done here, with multiple witnesses going to the extent of officially, legally swearing to it with a potential consequence of jail time if proven to be lies; that fact alone, even if lies, is worth reporting on), and to denote when they are moving into editorial comment.

          If this feature article seems unfairly one-sided, that’s because the courtesy of allowing a counter to these claims was made available, and used in a flimsy, tone-deaf canned corporate-speak way that experience has taught the public to be skeptical of. You would think EB PR would know this and say something a bit more substantial, but this was their call.
          There is NOTHING underhanded going on here in the reporting, just what’s been reported on.

          If you want to ask ‘what gives people the right’ to go into lynch mode, then go ask those people. There’s no point asking Mark Serrels. He didn’t send them. He showed them something they otherwise might not have seen, which is very relevant to how they should feel about pursuing their possible ‘dream job at EB’, or – if you want to reach beyond what was said explicitly in the article – how they make purchasing decisions.

          Threats, violence, personal harassment have all been condemned by Kotaku in the very first comment on the page, with the comments thread moderated to remove examples of such. I have no doubt it’s a time-consuming effort for them.

          You’re entitled to FEEL that it’s unfortunate that DiStefano has had his misdeeds exposed as a cautionary tale to people who might think they want to apply to work for EB. I get that. That’s a fair and reasonable response of a human being with compassion and empathy, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

          But don’t go trying to attribute DiStefano’s unfortunate present circumstances to a ‘lack of journalistic integrity’.

      • They are already on a witch hunt ringing up random staff at random stores and abusing them. I bet more abuse has come from all these keyboard warriors today than anything from within the company.

  • I pointed this out back on page 5 but I’ll point it out again just so people understand.

    This shit has been going on for YEARS. An American employee of GameStop (EB Games parent company) posted a video series on Youtube in 2008 detailing work conditions for staff and how customers are getting railroaded just to keep District Managers happy since those DM’s were notorious slave drivers with really bad attitudes. THIS WAS DONE IN 2008 AND IS STILL OCCURRING IN 2015!

    Don’t buy any claims of EB Games saying “We have an ongoing investigation” or any other company BS spin lines because EB don’t care. They’ll wait out the storm and continue with business as usual. The way they operate means that don’t have to be accountable to anyone.

    WATCH THESE VIDEOS AND SHARE THEM AROUND!

    Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuS-uC5ni6E
    Part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBjLZLM7tFU
    Part 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnLI8UW2SHc

  • I’ll throw my 2c in.

    Unsurprising in the slightest. My story is nowhere near as bad as most of these, but has a common theme of upper management not caring about or actively shitting on low level employees.

    The store manager that hired me was a great guy, as were the people I worked with. He was good to his casuals and made an effort to give us shifts, get us into cool events, and not treat people like shit. Within a month of me starting, he moved on, i’m not sure what the circumstances were but it was clear upper management had little respect for the way he ran things.

    The new manager was the complete opposite. Rude, abrasive, treated staff poorly. Shifts immediately disappeared with no explanation. When questioned I was assured I would be given more. Never happened.
    A couple of weeks later was stocktake. We were all asked to come in after hours for this. Didn’t find out it was unpaid until I was there. Met the area manager there, found him to have a similarly shit attitude. I was the only casual who showed – for this I was assured, promised I would be given a lot more shifts. This never happened either.
    Another 2 weeks of no shifts later and I had to go into the store to be told be the manager they didnt have any shifts to give me for the forseeable future. But he was so sorry and if I give him my email I’d be given a glowing reference. Surprise, this never happened either.

    I found out later that in the following weeks all staff at the store were moved on and replaced by the new manager’s mates.

  • Uh, E.B Emplyee ^ I too worked at E.B games for many years as lead casual. I was paid forty hours a week for seventy hours work. Manager kept needing to replace staff because anyone who had ever worked before instantly realised the internal abuses taking place and leave, or weren’t willing to tow the line and were left with three hours work per week. Pretty much every week there was a new guy starting out and what is described above I witnessed on countless cases, work for free opening, closing, setting up merch and pos (3 hours) work when sick, work for free (outside events/stocktake) dont take lunch breaks. My Manager was an Area Manager so they always had to check on other stores. As such my 2IC and I were effectively left in charge. For the first E.B Sale in Australia I literally worked thirty nine hour shift straight, during the setup while all mangers where in process of returning from vendor show. You sound like E.B – P.R guy going into damage control. “Pathetically gullible”? why the hostillity? I can tell you the two Area Manager’s in Victoria at the time Paul (short guy, great at his job) and Nick Hermans, who went on to become regional Manager after my manager was promoted to area. Still had a good time wirking there as a first job but this was pretty standard.

  • I’m shocked at this, I knew the pay was crap and as an Assistant Manager we had to be there early and late for free, but our staff were paid for their hours!

    A lot must have changed since I was there! (going on 7 off years ago now!) Yes the KPI’s were full on, and you were questioned if you didn’t make them, but generally all was ok!

    It’s horrible that they have gone down this path!

  • I work next to an EB games. It would have been my dream job.
    I made friends with everyone there and when I pitched to get a job there…
    She told me it’d be a bad idea. When I asked why, she basically explained all of this but being raped.
    Needless to say, I didn’t apply for the job.
    This isn’t a load of crap. If mr EBEmployee here disagrees, you may have been very lucky or you’re lying.

  • Why is almost everyone ignoring the issue that ALL EB employees do not get paid for overtime. They don’t even get paid after the store closes when they are required to clean up and tidy the store before leaving.

  • So wait.

    Someone has a good experience and you jump on and you say “tl;dr my experience has been great, therefore the experiences of others are invalidated”

    However, if you flip the situation, you wouldn’t do the same.

    What I love about this entire thing is the amount of people who are jumping on and saying mean, derogatory comments about the manager in question, or EB as a company.

    The thing I love about articles like this is that the company/person of interest who are having allegations put against are ALWAYS painted in a negative light, it is never, NEVER written as a fair 50/50 standing.

    Now, everyone is just going to read this and say that I’m a troll, or I’m trying to to be some form of Internet Hero.

    I don’t care what people think.

    My personal experience with EB as a company is a positive one.

    I like shopping there, I like my local store’s staff, I have great conversations with them.

    Yeah sure, sometimes the prices are higher than other stores like Target and Big W, but if I ask them to price match, they will. Also, even if they price match, I can still return in within 7 days if I don’t like it.

    Last time I checked, you couldn’t do that at Target or Big W.

    So sure, if these situations are true, then that’s pretty fucking shitty.

    But if EB did something great, would there be an article written about it? I think not.

    Would people comment the same way? I think not.

    • Because being treated well at work is a baseline expectation, nobody should be lauded for.

      It’s great that not every employee suffers, but the vast majority of comments suggest you’re in the minority.

      We should judge the company based on the worst they do, not the best. That said I don’t shop there already because of how little they respect their customers.

      Also anonymous horror stories have no reason to exist other than to vent, whereas anonymous “EB is great!” Comments reek of a company protecting itself.

    • Yes all of those things are good for the customer. I agree that the price-matching and 7-day returns are good. But you’re coming from the position of a customer – of course they’re going to work hard to make sure you enjoy your retail experience. They want you to come back.
      I’m coming from the position of an ex-employee and my attitude towards the company is the polar opposite of yours.
      Why? Because EB treats employees like shit. The difference between the customers’ and the employees’ experiences are night and day.

      • Fair call, I wouldn’t know the situation behind the scenes.

        I guess my grip was that a lot of people just hate on EB like its a fun thing to do.

        But if their practices to their staff are that bad, then some change needs to occur, for sure.

        • I mentioned elsewhere but easy to miss: This situation probably sums up all retail in Aus.

          But if EB gets raked over the coals for it badly enough it might make other chains take notice.

          For reference look up the Grill’d employee fired for asking for minimum wage.

    • But if EB did something great, would there be an article written about it? I think not.
      Ahem. http://www.kotaku.com.au/tags/eb-games/

      Go look up that tag to see that anytime EB has done anything great, it’s been written about. Numerous sales have got a lot of free advertising from Kotaku as a form of public service announcement. I imagine EB games weren’t complaining, then.

      If you want to complain that there isn’t more than that, well… that’s probably because they haven’t done anything great worth writing about.

      Kotaku can only work with what they’re given. EB has to actually DO something great to be able to have it written about.

      And if you see that people are commenting snarkily about EB’s ‘50% off’ price being a few dollars cheaper than Big W’s standard retail price… well. That’s some snark that’s earned, as well. Kind of amazing the sales have got as much publicity as they did from Kotaku, given that knowledge.

      • I’m no business expert, but (and if I’m wrong then be sure to correct me) I worked at Coles for a while and I know that a certain strategy was to reduce prices on certain items (often below cost) to entice people to buy it and then making the difference because more often than not, that customer would buy something else (sometimes in cases, marked up from the original price)

        Judging by the fact Big W and Target are Department stores and not Speciality stores, wouldn’t that also affect how they are able to aggressively mark down and market their games?

        Also, another thing I’ve noticed is the PC situation, GTA V is $74.99 USD ($101 AUD) on steam, last time I checked it at EB I think it was $89.95 and that seems to be a common thing with newer releases.

        • Actually the reason most new releases are cheaper is because a chain will buy an initial order in bulk and get a discount.

          Jb and other retailers will use that to lower their initial price point. EB will just pocket that difference unless someone wants a price match.

          That said I’ve had multiple issues actually having EB price match, so much so that I know they don’t have an official price match policy. They may at their discretion refuse at any point.

          Also I’ve successfully price matched at JB, target and big w personally.

          Just from a customer perspective I have no clue why people shop at EB, let alone with all this.

        • Yeah, I’ve heard that thing you describe, too. That being why they put the electronics in the back/basement so you walk past all the high-margin clothes and foods to get to them.

          Doesn’t make a whit of difference when it comes to the deal that the customer gets, which is what’s commented on, though.

          And I probably wouldn’t bother trying to find some point of consistency in Steam. There are so many layers of fuckery going on there it’s like if E. M. Escher were an economist. You go looking for patterns by publisher, AAA-status, release date, price relative to the US (higher or lower), it’s all over the shop. Ubi has been in the habit lately of doing Oz pre-orders for the same or cheaper price than the US, then bumping it back up to the typical Australia Tax-Included price a couple weeks before release.

  • I smell something stinky! Might it be… Bull sh**? You do realize that your little post positively REEKS of a PR damage control stunt, right?

    After this harshly incriminating article, anonymously posting about how the EB employee experience is so wondrous and not to believe a word said otherwise only serves to undermine your company even further. You might want to brush up on your counter-intelligence skills. KGB you most certainly are not, my friend.

    Transparent tactics are transparent.

    • Straight away, you call bullshit.

      I wrote my opinion and instantly, you claim it’s a PR stunt.

      But if someone wrote a negative comment, you wouldn’t claim that person to be “just going with the crowd”

      I simply wrote what my experience being a customer was and what my opinion about the situation was.

      Unless you treat all comments and opinions equally, then you can take your bias view and shove it.

      Because you’re no better than anyone, no matter what your ‘white knight’ self view might have you believe.

      • Because there’s monetary reasons why you might bullshit in support of them. On the other hand it was a risk to speak out against an employer so it means people will err to believing them.

        That’s why you get doubt mr anonymous.

        Besides there are other more direct responses to your initial post you ignored.

        • Just to play Devil’s Advocate for a sec.

          Couldn’t there also be monetary reasons to make accusation against them also?

          Don’t get me wrong, I understand your point, I’m just saying that maybe, there is more to the story than we are being told.

          As for the other responses, my replies to them have either been deleted, or simply were not submitted.

          But I did reply.

          • Actually I find the implication that victims are just looking for a payday rather insulting.

            Besides most of them won’t see anything and even if there’s a successful lawsuit and those that do won’t see an exorbitant payout.

            Honestly I believed most of the positive posts, the fact is they aren’t mutually exclusive. Awful bosses who exploit workers are common in Aus and I’ve seen it in many businesses.

            They also tend to get better numbers and are more likely to be promoted.

            So if you were lucky enough to get a good boss and a good manager be thankful, but don’t knock on those who’ve been less fortunate.

  • Wow. This does not surprise me one little bit. The EB store I worked for, had both an amazing manager & assistant manager, who both worked their guts out and wouldn’t let any of their casuals put in extra hours for free. Hell even when doing a close shift on a Thursday night, the boss wouldn’t allow me to stay any longer than 5-10 minutes after the official close time. I was never pushed to ask everyone I served to pre-order the latest and greatest game. We had targets to meet each shift which wasn’t massive, and in all honesty i’d meet them without even having to ask someone. Since we got an insane amount of pre-orders each day it seemed.

    Sadly she left EB start of the year and they got a new manager about 4 months later. In the mean time however the amount of shit they gave the ASM and put on him to run the store in that time was fucked up. He was there literally every day, regardless, putting in around another 40 hours a week on top of his salaried hours. The new area manager then had the fucking nerve to tell him he wasn’t worthy of being store manager and they were bringing in someone from down south. Who is an okay bloke, I guess, but he brought his own offsider with him & then another bloke and now everyone I used to work with there don’t get hours, which was 4 people all casuals who gave a shit about the customers and had built a pretty amazing rapport with a lot of people given how small our town is compared to other neighbouring areas. I now hate going in there when the ASM isn’t on because I don’t get the same treatment and customer service as I used to.

    But saying that I knew the store I worked for was one in a hundred it seemed, given a good mate of mine worked at our other store in the next town over and his manager was possibly the worst EB manager in the entire region, the store was so poorly run and was also doing extremely badly due to its location (not many stores in that shopping centre did well at all apparently, some even had free rent from centre management to entice them to stay I was told) EB eventually closed that location down early last year, I remember it was one of the first Electronic Boutique stores in the country, but had become such a joke in recent times that my mate was ashamed to ask for a staff discount at other EB’s because they’d always ask which store he was from and when they found out they’d just laugh and make comments about the manager. He basically ran that store towards the end. This manager at his store also hired some new girls over Christmas one year, told them that they were ‘trainees’ for something like 6 months and only paying them for one or two shifts a week when they were doing anywhere up to 30 hours a week each. I was told that when this manager was fired due to head office being informed of this practice and many more dodgy things she was doing these two girls were given their back pay which at casual rates for as many hours as they did was a fair bit.

    Saying that a few of the other EB’s in the area had pretty poor reputations too. But then again, EB don’t usually like to hire gamers from what I gathered at my group interview they want sales people who won’t take no for an answer, with gaming second. That didn’t reflect in the store I worked at, everyone was an avid gamer and had a real passion for games, hell even our area manager at the time loved games, when he got a chance to play them. The same went for my manager & ASM, neither really had time for games, which sucked, cause you could just see it in their faces how disappointed they were they hadn’t been able to play the latest & greatest AAA release or whatever. In the case of my manager she hadn’t even been able to open her Xbone or PS4 & set either of them up yet, despite she got those ahead of launch because all managers got one of each of the new consoles.

    TL;DR, EB corporate are pieces of shit, store level can be amazing, but can also be full of pieces of shit too. But I enjoyed my time with them, only because of the store I worked at had amazing people who made the job fun.

  • I worked for EB games when I was younger. I was verbally abused, BLACKMAILED, accused of theft, sexually harassed, intimidated, never payed for overtime, had rumours spread about me throughout other stores in the area and when a new manager came in I lost my job because he didn’t think I existed. I had sixteen year old boys wearing ties telling me to make them a sandwich and neck beards with zero management training trying to underpay me frequently. I had a manager who assaulted CUSTOMERS physically and also called me a ‘whore’ at a Christmas party. The shit I could write about that company beggars belief.

  • I worked for EB for about a year. One of two in the area. My store was definitely the quieter store as it was smaller, more out of way and got far less foot traffic. The store would basically require 2 staff for the week days and 3 on weekends. The 2 staff being a Store Manager who would open and close, plus one extra staff who came in from 1:30 until close at 5:30. The store also had around 8 Employees.

    As you can imagine this meant that everyone worked about 1 shift a week for about 4 hours.
    As others have already mentioned, the job demanded high K.P.I results such as:

    EBWorld Loyalty Card (Expecting Scanning of around 95%)
    Pre Orders (At least 2 a shift)
    $5 Game Guarantee (Scratch Insurance, at least 2 a Shift)
    and also of the Games you sold to be around 60% + to be Preowned.

    Now when you are working on a day like a Wednesday in a quiet store, when there is a bigger more convenient store closer to everything you can maybe expect around 10 Sales.
    And in those 10 sales you are going to be compared to everyone else in the company for the week. That includes those who work multiple shifts and weekends and might be serving people for the entire day.
    So when you need to get 95% EBWorld Card scanning rate and one person says they don’t have a card and they don’t want to sign up for one, you are behind on your KPI.

    Same with all the other KPI requirements. I was told by my Manager that I needed to get my Pre Orders and Game Guarantee stats up. I told him that I was asking everyone who bought something and once they said no was asked if they sure. I then said “Should I ask 4 times, resulting in them being more annoyed and not happy with the customer service?” His response was, “In your case? Yes.”

    The Employees are nice and enjoy gaming but the upper management see it only as marketing and sales, the product just so happens to be games. When I would go into work I felt like my job more closely represented Glengarry Glen Ross rather than anything else.

  • “Haylee didn’t tell anyone about the alleged rape. EB Games doesn’t have an internal HR department — she had no idea who she should tell.” How about the fucking police?

  • ive had managers do this sort of thing to me aswell. i agree with defending urself if u have 2. but i think walking out is the best solution. remember the only reason they get away with this is because ppl take the abuse. walk out and encourage others to do the same. u will take away all their power. also i think som1 should make this more public. so that ppl feel they have a community to turn to for help.

    • They deliberately hire vulnerable people who cant do this.

      Anyone who’s rent depends on the next paycheck as well as people on government support are prime victims of theirs, a lot of kids through youthgroup who got jobs with them always got threatened by their employment agencies like status employment here in adelaide that if there were any issues take it up with management.

      No effort was made to defend them and many of them are told to suck it up and if they walk off at the job they will have their government help cut.

      Same thing has happened with many kid via woolworths for the same thing, many shops on nightfill crew employee issues have done the same thing as EB games, the only differance there is when enough complaints mount up (even though the damage is done) they either do a fake apology and promise to fix it and a lot of the workers don’t get their extra hours paid up as there is no record.

      One thing you’l learn from this, the most annoying people are the zealots who go, ah this is all heresay, without evidence this didn’t happen.

      With young workers its easy to exploit them, a lot of them don’t know their rights, a lot of them also are in no position to record, make diaries of hours and collect evidence, and from a few supplier trade dispute we’ve been involved in with coles even with folders and folders full of smoking gun caught red handed evidence presented in court, a lot of the time its a slap on the wrist an the poor workers get treated like they are trying to play the system.

  • Some of the people on here that keep thinking things like this only happens in stores think again i know many of people that have been victims of bullying and problem is that when the see there managers about the problem then in most cases its swept under the rug. Btw this is within the main warehouse

    Wouldnt it actually be rather amusing if everyone wronged by them banged together to show them there true colours

  • This is what happened to me at my last job. I was a casual worker at a fast food joint well known for being a ‘healthy’ option (I won’t name the place but I’m sure you know which one I’m referring to). Out of no where I stopped getting shifts due to my ‘constantly changing availability’ (I’m in my last year of school and took two weeks off for my half yearly exams), I certainly wasn’t a bad employee. They didn’t give me one shift all school holidays despite me telling them I could literally work every single day/night. I went job searching and found a waitressing gig and resigned, never receiving a reference, or my last pay. I spent more time talking to my coworkers than my manager after I told him I was leaving.

    We would close at 10:00pm and get 30 minutes to get everything cleaned up. Somewhat doable on a quiet night. However if you worked on a busy Saturday night, that had a busy Saturday day with incompetent day staff who wouldn’t clean or do any preparation/cleaning, then chances are you wouldn’t get out until 11 at the earliest despite your pay stopping at 10:30, and with only two staff working nights it was damn near impossible. I don’t even know now if I was within my rights to complain about this.

  • Your dreaming right??
    Metal gear solid Xbox one on release day.
    Target $69
    Eb Games $109.95
    Google it. Both Day one editions, identical game
    I’m honestly surprised they’re still in business. I support smaller businesses but not when theres this much of a price difference

  • I got nailed to the wall by my manager and AM and in a bad way. I was harrased at home, lost my house, went from 2ic to nothing cos she didnt like me. The place is a wreck, so political.
    Went to the union got told it would be put in a class action, nothing came of it, I was claiming cos they expected all this free time too I didnt agree too.
    Manager had her mother picking up the banking in unmarked hess sacks cos she didnt trust “the employees and I” (she was new hired). After reporting this random lady we never met asking for 20k in cash without ID or not ( and the other girl gave her the money! I went off!) I got in trouble from head office and a written warning.
    If that money went missing it would of been my fault though.
    So corrupt and full of it that company, buy elsewhere and avoid

  • Id like to take the time to personally thank Kotaku. Because of this article the amount of free work I used to do weekly has decreased dramtically. Eb is no longer allowed to have “workback nights” without paying their staff.
    Good work!

  • I was employed as a store manager in NSW. I came from working in larger international retailers that looked after their staff and had standards. These guys were a bunch of monkeys. I trained at their ‘busiest’ store, where they had their ‘best’ manager who would teach me the ropes. He was a good guy but managed the store from the store room and had dodgy mates coming in to sell him pirated movies. Then when I got my own store, I found out about how staff would come in for a 3 hour shift but where expected by the company to do an extra hour (opening or close) without pay. I attended product launches and staff meetings without pay. Stocktake was also an expectation for managers to attend without pay. I started to ask questions and they weren’t too happy. I use to send my staff home after closing as they weren’t paid for the last hour. The State manager and District manager were not too happy. Then one day in the middle of lunch (busiest time of the day) they called me out of the store for a meeting. They made up a story that a customer had complained about me and had accused me of being sexist and not knowing how to deal with female customers. Thing is, I had previously worked in companies where 90% of the customers where females. When I raised this with these two clowns, they had nothing to say and said “we’re exercising our right to let you go during your probation period”. Thing is these monkeys did me a favour and got me out of Retail once and for all. And as for Mark Di Stefano, not only does he wear a bad rug on his head, but yes, he is a rude [email protected] I told him so to his face and he ran to the District manager to complain. Maybe he was the one who complained that I was being sexist 🙂

  • This is a joke. You must know that when you read it.. Lol “if you work at Eb games you may get raped” um, what?

    Worked there a long time. Head office is the best and everyone on the inside is like family. If you had a bad experience it’s probably cause you have a shitty work ethic and hate your life.
    It’s hard sometimes, anywhere is.
    8 years and I still love every minute of it.

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