EB Games Is Being Taken To A Tribunal For The Alleged Abuse And Underpayment Of Staff

In July 2015, Kotaku Australia published a report on working conditions at EB Games in Australia.

In the wake of that report and an official complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board, many of the sources involved — ‘Randall’ and three other former EB Games employees — went into mediation with EB Games, in an attempt to get a full apology and compensation for the treatment they allegedly received at the hands of EB Games management.

That mediation has failed. Now Randall is planning to take EB Games to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a final resolution.

“After a series of informal negotiations took place, we were unable to achieve an outcome and resolve the matter,” Randall said.

In our report, Randall and multiple other staff members alleged they were verbally abused by EB Games District Manager Mark DiStefano. Some were allegedly attacked for their race, or for being overweight. “Mark on numerous occasions called me an asshole and a cunt,” read one formal complaint sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Randall, who is of Indian descent claims he overheard DiStefano telling another colleague he was “gonna end up as a sleazy car salesman or a taxi driver”.

Now, in addition to the alleged abuse, Randall now believes he and numerous other workers were being underpaid by EB Games.

Randall was employed as a ‘Senior Sales Associate’ at EB Games and, as per the General Retail Industry Award 2010, was paid as a ‘level 2 retail worker’. Randall now believes he was performing duties consistent with a ‘level 3 retail worker’ and was consequently not paid in line with the work he was performing.

“After Kotaku ran our story, we discovered evidence that the majority of us were actually paid below what we were entitled,” he claims.

“I performed duties such as providing supervisory assistance, opening and closing the premises, and securing cash. Under the GRIA 2010, I am classified as a Level 3 Retail Employee. EB Games, however, paid me and the 2 other complainants as a Level 2. EB Games have not disputed this fact. They acknowledge this. However, to date, they have still failed to remedy underpayments.”

Randall now has three specific requests: he wants a formal written apology from EB Games, he wants to be compensated for his alleged underpayment and he wants a nationwide EB Games ban — put in place by Mark DiStefano — to be lifted.

Randall doesn’t want to give EB Games his business, he simply believes the ban is unfair, unlawful and should be removed.

“Some people think that a business has the right to ban anyone for any reason,” he explained. “This is not true. For example, you can't exclude someone from entering a premise based upon their ethnicity, religious background, or sexuality. This is considered unlawful and a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act. Likewise, you cannot ban or exclude someone for making a complaint.”

Randall’s nation-wide ban was put in place, he believes, because of his complaints.

Of Randall’s three requests, the written apology is non-negotiable. But so far EB Games has denied any wrong doing and claim, after an internal investigation, that the alleged harassment and abuse did not take place.

Confidentiality prevents Randall from discussing the specifics of what was spoken of during mediation, but confirmed he attended with his parents while EB Games brought Mark DiStefano, another EB Games manager Angela Albrecht, and a HR representative. Randall believes that EB Games has now created an internal HR department in the wake of our first report (a number of sources criticised EB for not having its own internal HR point of contact).

When Kotaku approached EB Games in July 2015 we were informed EB Games did not have an internal HR department.

“Although EB Games Australia does not have a dedicated HR department, all HR roles are covered within the business,” EB Games said in a statement. “This includes contracting an external HR consultancy firm and an independent third-party who operate an Integrity Hotline.”

But when we contacted EB this week to confirm Randall’s account we were told something different.

“As announced in February, we will be continuing to open more retail stores which will create hundreds of job opportunities. Part of this growth was the announcement of an internal Human Resource Manager who has been appointed.”

Regardless, EB Games has appointed an internal HR department since our first report in July this year.

EB refused comment on the current legal situation with Randall. A statement sent to Kotaku read: “[a]s per the legal requirements of this ongoing matter, all parties involved are bound by confidentiality, therefore EB Games is unable to make any statement on this case.”

According to Randall, an early apology would have negated any need for further action.

“If EB Games had called us up, apologised, and given us the support required, I can 100% say I would have dropped the complaints and walked away from this. I can speak for my former colleagues in saying they also would have done the same. At no stage have we requested that anyone be fired or even suspended. We just wanted an acknowledgement that EB Games had a duty of care to look after our safety and well-being while employed by them. They were negligent and we wanted them to acknowledge that. Instead they called us, and several independent witnesses, liars."

Randall has requested that the issue be referred to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for resolution, and is confident the issue will be ruled in his favour.

Randall has formally requested that the matter be referred to a tribunal, but at time of writing no date has been set. He claims his demands are reasonable. He also informed Kotaku that, minus his legal fees, which have been extensive, he plans to donate any compensation he receives to charity. His ultimate hope: EB uses this incident to review their current policies.

“Whether that includes having an internal HR department, or classes on workplace bullying — that's up to them,” said Randall.

It isn’t about embarrassing EB Games, claims Randall. It’s about holding them accountable for their actions and enabling change for current and future EB Games employees.

“Hopefully they tread more carefully from now on,” said Randall. “I know that there's already been a positive effect at EB. I want that to continue. They have a wonderful opportunity to make EB a fun place to work, free of harassment.

“They have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees, and treat us all like humans. I feel like they haven't done that.”


Comments

    Mmmm. Journalism.

      Indeed, that was a fantastic read and a great article.

      haha I had a similar comment in mind. Good work, Mark!

      For the 2 or 3 times a week that journalism actually happens on this website, it's usually pretty decent isn't it?

        It's almost as if substantial articles take time to research and be written, who could have guessed.

          And almost as though in the mean time they had to post fluff or reposts from other websites to keep the clicks coming and the lights on, right? Unforgivable!

            Why does this gaming journalism charity seem so profit-centric all the time?

    If EB Games had called us up, apologised, and given us the support required, I can 100% say I would have dropped the complaints and walked away from this.

    That got to me, we see so many people demanding so much in terms of litigation these days, that when I saw that it struck me as completely honest. He's doing it for the right reasons, and while I would *not* begrudge him keeping the compensation for what he's been through, giving it to charity is a noble ideal. So I support this guy 100% and support him completely. He's not seeking personal gain out of it but to hold a company accountable. This is the *right* sort of thing to take a company to task for, to take them to court for, so I wish him the absolute best. Good luck Randall.

    Last edited 19/11/15 10:16 am

      All they have to do is apologise and try to make it a better workplace, I don't see why it's so hard. They're only making it look worse for themselves by denying it all ever happened.

        The problem for EB is even though he doesn't want to litigate, if they accept what he's saying and formally apologise it opens the doors for anyone else who ever complained about this guy specifically or to a lesser extent anyone else.

        Not defending them, they got themselves to this point by never dealing with it but it would be why they are being stubborn.

          Yep, sets a precedent and the flood gates can open. Not saying its right but i understand it.

          They've probably looked at allll the stuff they've done in the past and gone "well.... shit"

          Oh the fun of ongoing litigation *grabs popcorn*

          Exactly. There's no guarantee that they'd just drop it after an apology either. I mean it's very easy for them to say that they will right now because there's zero chance of EB saying sorry, but if it happened they'd all be in for a tough decision. Pursuing it is not only financially sensible (they're owed money) but also the right thing to do as far as protecting workers rights. I'm sure they'd like to be able to resolve this that way, but as much as it sounds like the mature, level headed, responsible thing to do it isn't.

          Last edited 19/11/15 11:44 am

            There's nothing wrong with taking someone to task for their bullshit.

    I still have no idea why Mark DiStefano is not being suspended during the investigation before or until this case has been resolved. I'm more surprised that he got away with nothing whatsoever.

      It's because EB's line is to deny any of the harassment took place. If they punish DiStefano then it contradicts their statements.

        But surely it is the logical thing to do? Suspects are arrested before trial, he should be suspended for the entire period of time.

          Not in a case like this where you are saying the other party is making it up. it's not a criminal case.

            Yep, in this case punishing him is tantamount to admitting he did something wrong, which EB Games would then be liable for.

            Last edited 19/11/15 11:39 am

              Sorry I might have caused some confusion. I'm not saying punishing DiStefano, just a suspension during the investigation. Common practice in every company.

              I have spoken to EB rep before few months back when the case was still hot and they told me DiStefano was never suspended and was working during the entire investigation.

                I get what you're saying. It's all about damage control too. If he's on paid leave, he a.) can't cause any further issues, b.) be protected from claims of further issues while the investigation is ongoing and c.) protect EB's best interests by being seen to be doing the right thing and aiding the investigation.

                  Yeah. Just weird why it did not go that path?

                  Randall seems very upfront and vocal about everything including bringing his parents into the mediation but EB is like trying to shake it off and just waiting time pass so people will forget about it.

                  @letrico I worked for GE Money, incidentally a great company to work for in how they helped and supported their staffs wellbeing and mental health. I get their status as debt collectors etc, but in terms of being employers, they were second to none. If something like that happened of that notoriety, that's exactly what happened, they sent you on paid leave, for pretty much the reasons I sad. This is why this has me scratching my head.

                  They're a nation-wide company that only just now has their own HR firm. I wouldn't expect much.

                  @mic Indeed tell me about it, absolutely bizarre. Outsourcing your HR department is just.... I know I said bizarre already but it truly is. It promotes a detached, alien environment to employees.

            I was just using it as an example. Not implying this is a criminal case. Just weird that EB seems to do nothing, not even DiStefano's suspension to do an investigation.

            It's like EB HR just go up to him and ask him "Did you do it?" and he just says "No" and the investigation is over.

            I mean surely with so many staff claimed to be abused by DiStefano, there is at least some truth into what could have happened? Might not be as bad as it has been worded but there must be something that ticked them off.

            Last edited 19/11/15 11:55 am

          Many people are arrested when charged. Some are remanded into custody. Most are released into the community, pending any legal proceedings.

          Fortunately we don't live in a country that punishes innocent people like you're suggesting.

            So you think that DiStefano is innocent?

            You might not notice but it is a common practice in corporate companies that suspend staff if found/suspected while they do investigation.

            Paid suspension btw, not a punishment but just to make the investigation easier.

              No, I believe we live in a society where people are innocent until proven guilty.

              And yes, some corporations choose to suspend staff regardless of any matters of risk and compliance. Some don't. Anything is common practice when you cherry pick.

              Last edited 19/11/15 1:50 pm

                Quoting comments from @weresmurf above:

                I get what you're saying. It's all about damage control too. If he's on paid leave, he a.) can't cause any further issues, b.) be protected from claims of further issues while the investigation is ongoing and c.) protect EB's best interests by being seen to be doing the right thing and aiding the investigation.

                It is in the best interest of EB to do it, yet it was not. Why would any company choose to gain negativity from public instead of keeping their consumer happy?

                Back to your original point:
                Fortunately we don't live in a country that punishes innocent people like you're suggesting.

                Suspension is not a punishment, rather a benefit to be away from the shitstorm while the corporate take all the hit.

                Regardless of what is happening, we have a couple of people claiming to have receive verbal abuse from DiStefano while DiStefano refuse the allegation with EB backing him up. So far the claims is in favour of Randall so there is nothing to be done until the Tribunal decide.

                But looking at the case that Randall is trying to present, he is not seeing compensation or whatsoever but merely an acknowledgement that it happened and issue an apology to Randall and co. Randall has spoken and given enough information to the public but DiStefano is still hiding in behind EB and refuse to comment. What makes you think he is that innocent is you think he was?

                  It is in the best interest of EB to do it, yet it was not. Why would any company choose to gain negativity from public instead of keeping their consumer happy?

                  Well is there that much negative publicity? It's not like this case is recent news and pretty much every time I walk past an EB Games, it seems that the general public is still happily purchasing products in-store.

                  More than that, is there any harm taking place? That's yet to be proven. Has there been any industrial action? Have EB Games employees collectively requested representation to address the OHS issues Randall's raised? So far all we have is the hearsay of one person.

                  Suspension is not a punishment, rather a benefit to be away from the shitstorm while the corporate take all the hit.

                  I doubt many people who've been suspended from doing their job would agree that being suspended was a benefit to their professional development.

                  Randall has spoken and given enough information to the public but DiStefano is still hiding in behind EB and refuse to comment. What makes you think he is that innocent is you think he was?

                  Whether or not you, I or anybody else in the general public believes that he's guilty or innocent is irrelevant, because we live in a society where there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I don't see how this is seemingly difficult for you to understand.

                  And yes, I suppose it's nice that Randall has been so forthcoming. However, until his claims are tested in a legal proceeding, they don't mean much.

                  Last edited 19/11/15 4:07 pm

      It's unbelievable that DiStefano took part in a mediation. Seriously, could EB Games be any stupider? If they could get out of it with an apology I can't see why they wouldn't, except for Mark DiStefano not wanting to admit wrongdoing. I can only guess that DiStefano expects to be disciplined or sacked if he admits and apologises. If so, serves him right. If I were EB, I'd get DiStefano out of the limelight and offer a corporate apology in exchange for a general release.

        Seriously the only thing I have in mind is this Mark DiStefano guy might be some close friend or relative of some big shot in EB Games so they are just covering his ass and denying everything.

        Just my random suspicion nothing concrete. I mean why else would they defend him from the beginning? They could have easily just sack him on the spot and write a formal apology when this case was brought up ages ago. I've seen more than enough people getting fired from a single tweet.

          You may be right. DiStefano probably has good performance metrics. As they say, a lot of executives are psychopaths and are effective because of that. I don't know if DiStefano is a psychopath, but he's certainly not removing himself from the dispute, which is a pretty common-sense thing to do in the corporate world. Letting the higher-ups deal with Randall is more likely to resolve the issue.

        How would you mediate an issue between Randall and DiStefano if one party is excluded from the process?

          It's not an issue between Randall and DiStefano. It's an issue between Randall and EB Games. EB Games is responsible for DiStefano's actions. Any resolution of the issue will be between Randall and EB Games. Whether or not that involves DiStefano apologising or EB Games apologising is the tricky bit. Bottom line, DiStefano is an incredibly stupid choice to represent EB Games at any mediation. He should have given EB Games a written statement of his version of events and let his higher ups handle it.

          In addition to the things Zamboyoshi said, the remedies Randall wants are from EB. ("Randall now has three specific requests: he wants a formal written apology from EB Games, he wants to be compensated for his alleged underpayment and he wants a nationwide EB Games ban – put in place by Mark DiStefano – to be lifted.")

          He probably wants positive institutional changes to EB through this.

      If the claims about his behaviour are true then I have no idea why Mark DiStefano hasn't had the living suitcase beaten out of him yet. Honestly - you go around treating people like that, you're asking for a punch in the face and/or kick in the balls.

        Well, he probably only did it to his own employees. Punching your boss in the face tends to get you fired, which means you lose your income.

          Meh, a toxic culture like that isn't really a healthy place to be anyway. And it's not like working at EB is so lucrative that you couldn't do just as well or better somewhere else. So yeah, all things considered, I think I'd choose the satisfaction of the punching option :P

      Well they have said they have already done their internal investigation. There is nothing to stand him down for now that has been complete where they found nothing was done wrong.

      Making him leave without pay will get them in to trouble if they win, even if it looks from the outside in a standard practice. Paying him without working is a sunk cost. Since it is a civil case as well, there's definitely less pressure to move him aside until it is all over from an overall PR view.

      Last edited 19/11/15 2:28 pm

        Well that was not what the EB rep told me. I was told that he was never suspended from day one and have been working the entire time.

      It would contradict EB's statements. That and he probably keeps the numbers up with his psychological abuse.

    Best of luck to the employees and Randall. The response from EB games is fairly standard of a large organisation i.e. If you want an outcome you need to go the distance through the courts (or Fair Work Commission). A settlement only starts making sense if you are going to lose and you do not have a point to prove, for EB, if they are significantly underpaying employees they have a lot to lose as it will significantly effect their profit and loss.

    Not saying it is right, just the nature of the landscape in these matters with certain employers. Wish the staff all the best, and hopefully Randall does not take a settlement with non-disclosure cause if the end goal is ensuring accurate payments.

    Watch out language warning LOL.

      Is it really necessary though? I doubt kids are going to be interested in such a mature topic.

        I was having a joke friend.

          Oh, sorry, my bad. I misread the tone.

          Last edited 19/11/15 4:56 pm

      Language was used yes, but in context.
      In this instance i feel that editing the language out would have detracted from the seriousness of the article as it displays the utmost vulgarity extended to the staff by a colleague, by all counts, should have been there to provide support and assistance, not bullying and racist remarks.

      People will jump on me for the double standards in saying such, but unlike Luke Hopewell's flippant used of swear words in what he coins 'journalism' i feel strongly that this was warranted.

      Thanks for turning Kotaku around Mark. Brilliant job, excellent reporting.
      Keep up the great work. Its appreciated.

        Turning Kotaku around? A mix of long articles and fluff pieces has been a Kotaku staple for a very long time.

          Yeah whatever.
          i was referring to the actual effort he is putting into the articles he posts and provides.
          Long article and fluff pieces do not hold a counter to legitimate journalism.

          There is always one of you isn't there.

            Business as usual at Kotaku.

            I would be a bit freaked out of there was two or me of me.

    This is great to read about and see the issue is progressing. I hope this does lead to a happy outcome where the injustices against Randall are compensated and EB Games use this as a lesson and improve working conditions for all other staff.

    What really stumps me is that people who have confirmed cases of bullying against them, still manage to retain their jobs, as if nothing happened. No consequences!

      That's because Australian workplace law makes it very hard to outright dismiss people. Some businesses have been complaining for years that it makes it too hard to get rid of someone who is unreliable, thieving or bad at the job (also bullying). It's also why a lot of corporations now make employees redundant rather than firing them, because that's easier.

    Good luck to them. Anyone else picture the guy from clerks whenever they hear the name Randal?

      Yes. And then I immediately felt bad for associating the two together.

    well written and informative journalism on kotaku :) always good to see keep it up.

    Edit: Deleted my comment because, quite frankly, I don't know enough, or care enough, to debate it with everyone who'll disagree.

    Last edited 19/11/15 11:29 am

      I kind of agree but as someone who has been bullied in a workplace I am more inclined to believe this guy, he isnt asking for a large amount of money, just that EB sort their shit out, action is taken against the dude who verbally abused him and to be paid what he is owed none of that sounds unreasonable or ridiculous.

      As for the manager, sometimes people act differently with customers then they do with work colleges, i have known people who have amazing customer service skills and are just fantastic and as soon as they finish that interaction will go on a foul mouth rant about the customer they just served. Just because a guy gives you a discount on a game a few times doesn't make them a angel. I mean I dont mean to be so cynical as to believe that this guy is a monster but it is one possible explanation as to why people might of felt like it would be out of character for him to act like that.

        Yeah. Could be a personal grudge though. Maybe this DiStefano guy busted and fired him.

        Also, I'm talking ex EB employees. I'm fairly sure there were some on the last article saying it doesn't seem like something he'd do.

        In any case, EB does have problems they need to sort out. Especially in the unpaid overtime department.

      Be careful with libellous comments. That is nothing but hearsay vs actual statdec's, witness accounts and formal binding mediation. Methinks your source may have an agenda with an axe to grind.

        I'm not accusing anyone. Just saying what I've heard in passing conversation. I don't know these guys from Adam, and would never try to state it as fact.

      Occam's razor. What is more likely:

      1. A bunch of guys run a 'theft ring' and are let go from their jobs. They subsequently create a high profile in the media and initiate complaints to authorities and legal action as a way of "getting back" with no concern for their "theft ring" being exposed during the investigation. At no time do EB Games respond to their accusations by stating they were stealing from the company (to my knowledge).

      2. A bunch of guys are harassed at work and then sacked for complaining. They take their grievances public and initiate actions to seek redress (an apology). some online commentators claim that it's all a "beat up" and the manager in question is really a good guy. Who are these online commenters? Current employees toeing the line to keep their jobs? Company shills?

      Unless and until the issue is resolved through the tribunal, it's hard to know the true story, but I'm going to take option number 2 for 5, steve.

      Edit: wrong option, ha ha. Definitely option 2

      Last edited 19/11/15 11:48 am

        Would've thought both scenarios are equally plausible but would have my money on #2 - you'd be surprised how easily you can fall into a bullying & harassment case purely by being unaware in the first instance and then dismissing the notion and continuing the behaviour.

        At least this is being raised in NSW - if this was down here in Victoria there's a good chance it'd be a whole lot more serious - it's a criminal offense (Brodie's Law)

      Ah, yes, but also consider the amount of ex-employees, myself included, who witnessed and were subjected to the other aspects of their complaint.
      Things like staff being pressured into working for free, harassment, an absolute lack of options when it came to HR issues, unreasonable targets and KPI's, and a culture created by head office of acceptance of these working conditions because you're lucky to be "part of the EB family".
      I give more weight to their personal grievances regarding DiStefano simply because everything else they're saying absolutely rings true.
      You heard they were involved in some sort of theft ring? Well, someone once told me dogs can't look up.

      I disagree with you deleting your comment. Let's debate whether the deletion was right or wrong! ;-P

        I think a better approach to deleting the comment was to simply edit it to say that energydrinkhigh has considered the points made today and feels that it was time to step back, assess what we've discussed and learn from it moving it forward, do you agree with that?

    How and why is EB games still functional. Terrible shops, terrible staff (for the most part) and their prices are just extortion.. when a shop (JBHIFI) is less than 2 minutes walk away (usually in malls/town centres) charge anywhere between 20-40$ cheaper per new title. even the AAA games..

    Would you like 5$ disc protection with that, incase your game gets damaged when you're updating your console.

    Saying that, that's just how they operate in Australia.

      Witless parents and a free console game rental policy, (sorry, 7 day return policy), keep EB in business.

      Not all areas have a JB HiFI available. I live in a country area and if I don't want to shop at EB, my only other options are Big W, Target or Harvey Norman. Prices and range can vary wildly too.

    One issue could be a formal apology and acknowledgement of what occurred may then set a precedent for a civil suit against EB and Mark. Whilst Randall appears to be doing this for the right reasons, there's no guarantee that the other aggrieved parties wouldn't take that and then sue them for damages. Guess EB need to play it with a straight bat until NCaT :)

      Nah, EB would just get a deed of settlement and release, preventing further suit from Randall. The problem EB has is that DiStefano is swearing black and blue he's done nothing wrong. If EB forces him to apologise, DiStefano will turn around and sue EB Games. Even if EB Games apologises then DiStefano could claim that they are accusing him of lying. If I were EB I'd take that chance and just issue a corporate apology (assuming Randall would be satisfied with that).

    Great writing Mark.

    I have to entirely agree this this statement:

    It isn’t about embarrassing EB Games, claims Randall. It’s about holding them accountable for their actions and enabling change for current and future EB Games employees.

    From the previous article, and this one, it appears that the company is covering arse and doesn't want to be embarrassed. I'm of the belief EB Games has gone too far down the 'deny deny deny' path to the point any backing out now is going to blow it wide open. If it's found that Randall, and the other complainants were right, it'll serve as strong ammunition if the Fair Work Ombudsman wanted a reason to start an investigation. Could end up with a 7-eleven sized fallout and brand damage.

    He should be compensated with a copy of Morrowind GOTY (including Tribunal) and a common amibo. Fair is fair

      When an EB employee fraudulently cancelled my pre-orders and stole the money put down on them, I was compensated with a downloadable copy of Sword Art Online Re: Hollow Fragment and a voucher for 3 months of STAN ;-)

        Whoa may I ask which game preorder?

          Collector's edition of Persona 4 Dancing All Night, and Collector's edition of Mirror's Edge Catalyst. $60 in total.

        That really happened? What a prick!

          Yep. The story was that some guy came in asking if there was credit on his account. He (apparently) gave the same last name as me but had a different first name. The EB staff member (1) didn't get his ID; (2) didn't get his EB member card; and (3) didn't get a manager to sign off on it. Handed this random guy off the street with a different name to me a $60 gift card, which was then (apparently) used later that day by a mysterious customer named Zhao to purchase Lego Dimensions.

          I mean, to take an analogy, a guy comes in and says, "Hi, I'm James Smith, do I have credit on my account?". EB staff "No James Smith, but we've got some pre-orders for Scott Smith." Guy: "Er... yes... that's me! I want to cancel the pre-orders!" EB staff "No worries, sir!".

          I mean... honestly...

            That's fucked up. At least my local store must scan my eb world card and compare ID if I didn't bring my card. Not to mention EB never refund in gift card unless it was store credit?

            Did you at least get back the P4 Dancing All Night CE?

              They have apparently sourced one and it is 'on its way'. Yeah they can do a refund in gift card if requested, or apply the pre-order money to a different pre-order or purchase. It was bizarre though because my name isn't that common (not in the top 250 in the English-speaking world). My suspicion is that an employee was running a scam by checking pre-orders for upcoming games that are to be picked up in store, then doing a fake pre-order cancellation whereby a fictitious customer with a similar name is said to have come in and asked for a refund (in fact, no-one comes in). The EB staff member then pockets the gift card and passes it on to a friend who can then use it to purchase stuff that can easily be sold on ebay or the like. If the staff member is caught (as in this case) they simply say that the guy who came in convinced them that he was the customer who had placed the pre-order. The staff member looks incompetent but not dishonest. It's only the name rarity that makes me think this is an inside job. If my name were Smith or Jones then I'd be more likely to buy the story of a random dude off the street trying it on.

                EDIT: It was JB HiFi

                I recall a case back few years ago when Witcher 2 release for X360. I preordered the Witcher 2 Dark Edition and a week before release they called me and ask me to confirm if I wanted to cancel the game. I was like errr no I did not want to cancel the game. I want to game.

                I suspect mine was either staff or some guy came in asking faking it asking to cancel the game so that they can get a copy themself. It was sold out at that time. I mean there was only $10 on it shouldn't be because of money.

                Last edited 19/11/15 3:14 pm

                  Yeah. I thought it could be because a staff member wanted the pre-order, but at least in the system it was cancelled on 28 September, over 6 weeks before release date. I confirmed with EB Games that if the game were cancelled that early, there is no way the game would have been sent out to the store where the employee could have claimed it. When I asked what would have happened to the game, I was told that it would have gone back into unallocated stock, and if there had been enough unallocated stock it would have gone back up on the website for pre-order. What I might do is ring up EB Games and find out if any P4DAN CE pre-orders were put through after 28 September, particularly for pick-up at that particular store. Apparently EB Games has the area manager investigating too.

                  Update to my post above: they got another copy of the P4DAN collector's edition, gave me a $20 discount on it, which was pretty cool. They also price-matched me a copy of Battlefront :-P

                  Investigation into staff member still ongoing!

        Just a heads up... they were given all that stuff for free. Stan comes with consile purchases and the game download was given out as well. So you still got ripped off. Should have demanded your money. They would have had to give it to you

          Yeah I know. I was kind of being sarcastic due to the 'compensation' being so crappy. I did get the money back (put it back on the Mirror's Edge CE pre-order which luckily they still have available). I'll be making sure I pressure them to give me something else or a discount off the P4DAN CE when it comes in.

    Thanks for sticking with the story, Kotaku.

    As the main retail space for our hobby, it's distressing to think we're supporting such a woeful employee experience.

    Looking forward to be able to shop at EB again - I hope they do the right thing, even if they are forced into it.

    Everyone is going to have their own opinion on this, but just want to say, fantastic report Mark. Simply laying out the facts and quotes as is, no blaming of one side or the other. This is exactly what makes me love this site and the people that work here. Seriously, amazing job.

    For EB being such a large company it baffles me why they seem to have so many issues.

      It's very common in larger companies. As the business grows, it takes on more bureaucracy and tradition. Each department can become it's own little kingdom. It can be very hard to fight momentum once red tape becomes entrenched.

        I can understand that. But the problems they seem to have is that of a small business. I'm sure EB would be earning more then enough to be able to pay everyone in a fair manner. What are they doing with all their money? As for the mistreatment stuff sadly that is in every workplace retail or non retail.

          Competition. Regions and branches are managed by individuals, who the company puts in competition with each other on profits and sales.

          And one of the ways those individuals will almost universally turn to is unfair labour practices to try and compete with their fellows. It allows the company to deny a global corporate culture of abuse by saying that they only encouraged competition among their branch/regional managers... and that anyone who took that too far to win was doing so off their own bat and is individually responsible, rather than the management who inspired them to do it.

          EB Games isn't endorsing unfair labour practices. It's simply giving thousands of dollars worth of bonuses to managers who achieve results which you can't otherwise achieve without unfair labour practices.

          Last edited 23/11/15 12:48 pm

    hahahaha if EB admits they are paying staff the wrong wages for the roles they perform they will have to back pay and reevaluate all casuals wages. The amount of casuals that are just paid as sales associates that open and close shifts, and run weekends as well as late night shopping is pretty much all of them. Most stores are only allowed one "senior sales associate" that gets paid more. But now its been changed to senior game advisors which all staff had to be changed too in the system. Now we know why! lol

    Used to work at EB Games myself (Palmerston, NT) and yeah, the way they treat staff is shocking, we were expected to stay back hours setting up displays etc for big sales, and attend midnight launches without pay, and if anyone complained, we were told that we could be replaced in a day. No to mention, after I eventually quit over an argument about 18 hours overtime pay missing from a pay cheque during Xmas trading, my preorder for a limited edition PSP was mysteriously lost and sold off to some random too.

    Eh, I worked at EB Games (WA stores) for years while I was doing my law degree. Was a great job - had a lot of fun. I also worked at General Pants, David Jones and Calibre menswear (to name a few). I can tell you, without a doubt, that EB was the best of the bunch. Met a bunch of people there who I'm still friends with to this day.

    But no, please, everyone pile on about how terrible this evil megacorp is.

      Here we go again... "I had a great experience therefore yours is invalid". Mate if EB was the best job you had then thats fantastic. Great stuff. But it's clear your experience is the exception. Look at the original article. Countless allegations from former employees. It's clear your experience was not shared by many. Companies shouldn't be rewarded for treating their employees fairly but should absolutely be called out on abuse. No one is blaming all of EB for the actions of a few but when head office doesn't respond to these concerns and try to distance themselves after claiming an investigation revealed nothing, we have a problem. Again, congrats on getting treated right but i'm still standing up for the people that were poorly done by

        Here we go again, indeed.

        How on earth is it the exception? Because 5 guys are claiming their area manager is a bully? Or have you just decided in your head that EB games are particularly heinous, and are happy to jump to conclusions?

        Christ. Get some perspective. Shit like this goes down all the time with big retail chains, be it clothing, fruit smoothies, electronics, or whatever. Hell, it's not much better in the corporate world. People can be sh1t. Some managers are d1cks. Some employers are lying, opportunistic buggers. Always easier to blame the company though. "EB Games are corporate pigs. Gotta stand up for the little guy". Some of the shit retailers have to put up with their staff is off the charts too.

        Pointless. It's like arguing politics. Our legal system will get to the bottom of it. Comment then.

          So, just so I have things straight, you have no response to the overwhelming evidence that the majority of people in virtual "I work/worked at EB Games" world had experienced these conditions - pending the results of this specific trial?

          Why bother commenting at all then?

          Also, if you think companies aren't accountable for their culture then I think it's clear you are misunderstanding the obligations of an employer. Saying "Well yes they are shit, but so is everywhere else!" is not the compelling argument you seem to think it is.

          Last edited 23/11/15 2:03 am

      Well, your great experience doesn't necessarily line up with everyone else's, nor does it mean that they shouldn't be investigated for accused wrongdoings does it?

    I used to work in the distribution center and its not much better. managers treat staff like shit and they love to try and intimidate people by staring at them. it was quite amusing watching them stare at me. EB higher-ups are probably the most evil, diabolical bastards on the planet, they run the place like some sort of nazi concentration camp.

    Last edited 19/11/15 6:19 pm

    The comments section on this article is the very definition of "IANAL, but...".

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