Nintendo faces new legal battle regarding violating labor rights of contractor

The suit brings up allegations of “coercive actions” involving unionization.

Screengrab via Nintendo

Nintendo is coming under legal fire for allegedly violating workers’ rights in regard to unionizing. This was discovered via a filing made Monday, April 18 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Nintendo of America. 

As reported by Axios, an anonymous worker claims Nintendo and Aston Carter, one of the firms it uses to hire contractors, have actively worked to violate “their legally protected right to unionize.” Aston Carter is a global staffing firm that has seemingly helped Nintendo fill customer service and administrative contracting positions in the past, according to Axios.

The suit, which was filed in Washington to coincide with NoA’s operations out of Redmond, specifically claims both parties made “coercive actions” against a worker that kept them from organizing. The specifics are not listed in public documents, but Axios notes this likely means the allegations involve surveillance, threats, retaliation, and either a layoff or refusal to hire in some form.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) specifically protects a worker’s right to “seek better working conditions and designation of representation without fear of retaliation,” something these claims call into question from both companies. 

An investigation is set to follow this report, which will be the first time Nintendo has dealt with this type of issue as it becomes a more widespread problem in the gaming space. The most prominent recent example is quality assurance workers at Warzone developer Raven Software working to unionize under parent company Activision Blizzard, which is also going through a waiting process with the NLRB.

Update April 21 4:47pm CT: Axios reporter Stephen Totilo received an official statement from Nintendo regarding this new set of allegations.

Nintendo is aware of the claims filed with the NLRB but reports that the contractor in question, while still anonymous, was terminated with due causation for disclosing confidential information, according to this statement. Additionally, the company is “not aware of any attempts to unionize or related activity” and intends to cooperate fully with the NLRB’s investigation.

“Nintendo is fully committed to providing a welcoming and supportive work environment for all our employees and contractors,” Nintendo said. “We take matters of employment very seriously.”