Former Valve Employee Sues For $3.1 Million, Alleging Wrongful Termination [UPDATE: Jury Rules For Valve]

A complex lawsuit was recently filed against Valve, in which a former employee is suing for $US3.1 ($4) million in damages, alleging transgender discrimination, misclassification of employment, retaliation for whistle blowing, and more.

Update - 6:00pm, January 19, 2018: It was recently brought to our attention that on November 2 of last year, a jury ruled in favour of Valve, finding that the plaintiff was not discriminated against nor dismissed due to being transgender or disabled.

The lawsuit was brought to light by Polygon, where you can also download the related court documents filed by a currently unnamed former Valve employee.

Valve has not yet responded to my request for comment.

The employee, whose job primarily consisted of translating content into Spanish and acting as an internal liaison for Spanish-speaking law enforcement, worked in the company's Washington office. In 2012, she wanted to pursue a gender transition in Los Angeles. Valve approved the move, in addition to allowing her to work from home, but reportedly required the employee to move from full-time to an independent contractor.

An independent contractor isn't as entitled to as much as full-time employees, such as health benefits. The suit alleges she was not paid overtime wages, either.

Around this time, the employee filed a report to Valve's human resources department, alleging the company was exploiting folks for translation services.

Per the suit:

Within days, the suit alleges, the employee's job was terminated "without any valid basis" in January. Officially, the termination was due to the job being relocated, but despite the employee agreeing to move, they were terminated.

The employee says the termination was "due to her trans-gender status," and her supervisor "referred to her in a derogatory fashion" by calling her "it."

In a legal response, Valve was extremely brief. The company denied every single one one of the allegations and said the employee wasn't "damaged in any manner or amount, or at all, as a result of any act or omission by [Valve]."

You can read Valve's entire response here.


Comments

    Valve are starting to sound no better than EA

      If you go by this one-sided recount of the story. We don't know any other details than what is here, and that's almost certainly not the full picture.

      Everyone that tries to sue always exaggerate their point to the maximum. For example "it" may refer to something completely different, may have referenced a body part for example in the conversation but is being misinterpreted "intentionally" to make the case in favor of the former employee.

      Very common case of misconception that does not classify as falsifying statement or lie about any fact, which is a common technique used.

    It's poor form to instantly think 'how another company' would somehow act in such a situation, but that's exactly how the issue devolves into just another ball to kick around in games communities like this.

    However, the way the games media goes on to portray the companies that make these games every other day gives rise to the sorts of attitudes that also instantly think the company in question can do no wrong, it's the claimant at fault.

    Due process (as far as that is concerned in the US system) should be allowed to happen, but erroneous reporting or public discussion could derail that.

      However, the way the games media goes on to portray the companies that make these games every other day gives rise to the sorts of attitudes that also instantly think the company in question can do no wrong, it's the claimant at fault.
      Because there's never been a games media outlet quick to crucify a company without all the facts or any bias/agenda to push, right?

      Given comments/articles from some of Kotaku's writers in the past, I'm honestly damn impressed the article stayed impartial and didn't just immediately side with the claimant.

      If this was someone like Bethesda I'd absolutely expect a much different tone and another "Remember guys, they blacklisted us... So we don't expect a reply to our inquiry." reminder with the world's smallest violin playing in the background.

      Last edited 25/05/16 5:23 pm

        Well, I didn't want to exactly set out to shoot the messenger either, like you have.

        There isn't a Nintendo story each week here where I crap on about how it's antagonistically written, either.

        Valve, for the most part, completely stays out of the games-media's usual remit. It doesn't need third parties to advertise for it, and it certainly doesn't take kindly to third parties (like self-professed games journalists) trying to gotcha someone into revealing Half Life 3. For something like this to be reported correctly - and it has to be if it's before the courts, right - the scribe had better leave any perceived emotive writing or bias out of the final draft.

    She will never get 3mil. The best she might get is 2mil and two episodes......

    Last edited 25/05/16 8:19 pm

    "In a legal response, Valve was extremely brief. The company denied every single one one of the allegations and said the employee wasn’t “damaged in any manner or amount, or at all, as a result of any act or omission by [Valve]”.

    basicly said all above is ture, but they have no legal leg to stand on so we dont care.

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