Some of you may recall the firestorm that “EA Spouse” touched off when she wrote about her husband and his working time spent at Electronic Arts. For those of you who missed it, here’s a snip:
If I could get EA CEO Larry Probst on the phone, there are a few things I would ask him. “What’s your salary?” would be merely a point of curiosity. The main thing I want to know is, Larry: you do realize what you’re doing to your people, right? And you do realize that they ARE people, with physical limits, emotional lives, and families, right? Voices and talents and senses of humor and all that?
The blog had over 2,000 comments from game industry workers, their partners, and even software workers in other sectors. The blog is widely credited for fanning the flames of a class action lawsuit against EA for unpaid overtime.
And all the while, “high technology” workers are often deemed “exceptional” by labour codes. California and the U.S. federal laws support “special” categories of high-tech workers that are exempt from overtime laws. B.C. started with this code, allowing for workers in companies with at least 50% “professional technology” workers to work unpaid overtime.
That means that even receptionists in a Vancouver agency could work up to 80-hour weeks without being paid overtime. Legally.
My question is: What is so exceptional about high-tech workers? Why is exceptional labour law required for this class of worker? Do they save lives? Why the need for “special” circumstance?