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Report: Tecmo Settles Overtime Lawsuit

Report: Tecmo Settles Overtime Lawsuit

September 5, 2008 | By Eric Caoili

September 5, 2008 | By Eric Caoili
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Developer and publisher Tecmo announced a settlement with Team Ninja employees Hiroaki Ozawa and Tatsuki Tsunoda, who filed suit against the company and accused Tecmo of implementing an illegal overtime structure.

The suit, which was filed with the Tokyo District Court in June 2008, claimed that under Tecmo’s "flexible hours" work scheme, employees were not paid appropriately for their overtime hours, which often exceeded 100 hours per month. The suit also alleged that the company created false documents to cover up the accounting documents.

Tecmo is currently embroiled in a separate lawsuit with former Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki, who resigned and filed a complaint in June against the company and former Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda for unpaid completion bonuses regarding Dead or Alive 4's Xbox 360 development, claiming ¥148 million ($1.4 million) in damages.

Yasuda also later left the company in August, citing "personal reasons" for his departure. Chairman of the board Yasuharu Kakihara took over Yasuda's duties and role as president.

Though neither Tecmo or its Team Ninja employees disclosed any details behind the settlement, the former released a statement that was translated by game weblog Kotaku: "On July 16th, two of our employees brought suit against our company regarding unpaid overtime in the Tokyo District Court and presented a proposed settlement. On September 1, 2008, a judicial settlement was reached."

The settlement follows recent reports of a potential merger between Tecmo and Dynasty Warriors publisher Koei. Tecmo was previously considering a possible acquisition by Square Enix, but decided to reject the Final Fantasy company's $206 million offer, believing that a merger with Koei has a "greater chance of boosting corporate value."

Tecmo's overtime suit echoes similar U.S. lawsuits regarding unpaid overtime for game developers, all settled in recent years by companies ranging from Sony to EA to Activision.


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