The worker who founded the #AppleToo movement has accused Epic Games of taking a similarly anti-labor stance. The Washington Post reports former Apple employee Cher Scarlett has filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint alleging Epic refused to hire her because she backed a labor organization, is cooperating with the NLRB and is otherwise fighting unfair working conditions. She claims Epic balked two days after she shared details of her advocacy work and federal testimony with recruiters for a senior web developer position.
Epic spokesperson Elka Looks denied any wrongdoing in a statement to The Post. She said Scarlett's labor rights efforts didn't factor into the hiring decision, and that the company had already settled on someone else before Scarlett shared details of her activities. The winning candidate simply "scored higher," Looks stated.
Whether or not the assertions hold up, it's no secret that Scarlett is known for challenging allegedly abusive and unfair workplaces. She helped draw attention to misconduct at Activision Blizzard by describing sexual harassment between 2015 and 2016. Scarlett also has three ongoing cases against Apple, including an NLRB complaint about a hostile work environment. Another NLRB complaint from February says Mozilla discriminated against her job application at that firm.
The complaint against Epic also comes as tensions have risen between tech companies and staffers demanding better labor practices. Amazon, Apple and other companies have been fighting unionization attempts, and there have long been concerns these brands might be firing outspoken employees. Even if Scarlett doesn't succeed, she'll highlight problematic behavior across the industry.
Update 4/29/22 7:18pm ET: Scarlett reached out on Twitter to add some additional details regarding the candidacy process. She claims most of the Epic employees at most levels of the interview process were "well aware" of her background in organizing and many "thought it was awesome." She further insinuated that decision had been made by people above those layers of management.
@jonfingas Hey Jon! Just to clarify, the recruiters and the people who interviewed me were well aware of the labor activism. We talked about it. Most thought it was awesome.
The form I filled out goes above all of their heads to higher leadership. That's where my concern is.
— Cher Scarlett (@cherthedev) April 29, 2022