Massive layoffs reported at EA on LSU campus
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Numerous people employed as testers for Electronic Arts, located on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, were terminated Tuesday, Feb. 28.
More than 200 employees who contract with EA through a third-party company lost their jobs, documents reviewed by WAFB I-Team revealed.
One of those former workers tells the WAFB I-TEAM they were blindsided by the announcement.
“Oh, 100 percent and it’s not even just me and my coworkers of the same level. We’ve spoken to our managers that are considered full-time EA employees and not just contractors of Magnit and they had no idea any of this was happening as well.,” that former employee said.
The former employee did not want to be identified but says after working the overnight shift, just as she was going to bed Tuesday morning, she got hit with an email asking her to get on a Zoom call at 8 a.m. She says what happened next was the worst few minutes of her life.
“It was a five-minute long, I wouldn’t even call it a speech, and then that’s it. The man just said if people were just joining he would repeat himself, he repeated himself and then ended the call,” the former employee added. “We were told not to record, we couldn’t send chats in the Zoom call, we couldn’t be on the mic, couldn’t be on camera or do anything. We were just there to listen and that was it.”
It is possible employees for other third-party contractors were also terminated.
A spokesperson for Electronic Arts (EA) declined to provide WAFB with a specific number of affected employees.
The workers all played and tested Apex Legends, one of the company’s most popular games.
The former employee believes there were warning signs and she thinks the wheels had been put in motion for the massive layoff months ago.
“It seems like it was very planned from way higher up and not a lot of information sent lower down. For us, we were just told things were getting more organized now that we were back in office after COVID,” she said.
The WAFB I-TEAM checked with the Louisiana Workforce Commission to see if they were sent what’s called a “WARN” letter from the company, letting them know about the layoffs ahead of time. In the letter provided to WAFB, the company Magnit told the state that 207 employees were being let go.
“Everything right now with inflation is getting so expensive and so ridiculous to be able to afford to live and we’re just doing the best with the resources that we’re given and to have those jobs taken away is just unfair because a lot of us have worked really hard to get good at those jobs,” the former worker said.
The former worker says the only silver lining is that they did get a severance package, which means they will be paid for the next 60 days. She says while that is some relief, she is still worried.
“I just moved in January and have a new apartment. I’m going through some issues with my car right now and so this is just a lot of stress and it’s hard when you are an I would say basically a poor 20-year-old kid in Baton Rouge,” the former worker said.
The EA spokesperson, Lindsey Campbell, says that testing of that game will no longer be done at the Baton Rouge location.
“Testing games is an integral part of delivering the best experiences for our players,” Campbell said. “As part of our ongoing global strategy, we are expanding the distribution of our Apex Legends testing team and ending testing execution that’s been concentrated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”
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Campbell said testing of that particular game will now be done globally, allowing the company to “increase the hours per week we’re able to test and optimize the game.”
She said the Electronic Arts studio on the LSU campus will remain open but did not say what the workers there would be doing. She also did not say how many employees still have jobs there.
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