An employee at a games technology studio who alleges that she and other colleagues were wrongly denied reimbursement for personal Internet expenses for working at home received preliminary approval of a $100,000 settlement for her lawsuit from a judge on Thursday.
According to plaintiff Meghan O’Sullivan v. Mythical Games’ Los Angeles Superior Court — in which she sought class action status — she and the other affected employees were ordered to work from their homes for more than two years instead of at the Sherman’s Company to join Oaks Office, where the company develops video games and platforms. O’Sullivan was hired as an executive assistant in November 2021.
Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl gave her tentative approval of the $100,000 deal Thursday. If the judge gives final approval during a scheduled hearing on Aug. 9, the decision would benefit approximately 120 California residents who are or have been employed by Mythical in the state and who have been working from home for at least one pay period beginning in mid-March 2020 have until December 31 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an affidavit, O’Sullivan says the case resolution is good for her and her colleagues.
“In my opinion, the settlement is fair, reasonable and reasonable, and is in the best interests of the class based on the monthly amount that I and other class members receive,” said O’Sullivan, who is also seeking an additional $5,000 for her work as class representative.
The lawsuit was filed Aug. 12 under the state’s Private Attorneys Act, which empowers allegedly aggrieved employees to file lawsuits seeking civil penalties for themselves, other employees and the state for alleged violations of the Labor Code.
“To be clear, Mythical sent all of its employees, including Plaintiff, home to do their work from home in the period from approximately March 13, 2020 to the present day and did so without them specifically with monthly stipends or otherwise compensate a reasonable portion of their monthly home internet expenses,” the lawsuit reads. “On the contrary, Mythical pointed out that home internet expenses are not reimbursable, even though employees are required to use their home internet for their work.”
Under Mythical Games’ travel and entertainment policy, expenses related to Internet, cable and wireless services at home employees are typically non-refundable and will be charged on a case-by-case basis, the lawsuit states.
Mythical Games Chief People Officer Cassandra Kaiser said in an email to employees that the company does not provide compensation for internet costs “because (that) most employees already have internet as part of their daily lives and most employees In addition, no more travel costs are incurred,” the lawsuit states.
However, the lawsuits say that under California law, in cases like O’Sullivan’s, employers are required to reimburse employees a reasonable percentage of expenses, even if their employees have unlimited data plans and no cost increases have been incurred.