Evolution Face Lawsuit Over Redundancy Failings

Former NetEnt employees in Malta have filed a lawsuit against Evolution Gaming, according to a Times of Malta article. The legal proceedings mean Evolution potentially finds itself on the hook for at least €349,407 ($560,707).

The General Workers’ Union (GMU) last week confirmed it declared an industrial dispute with NetEnt and Evolution Gaming Group. GMU claims Evolution is in breach of the law on collective redundancies.

Evolution acquired NetEnt in a $3.05 billion all-share deal in November. Various government bodies around the world gave the deal the green light. The deal completed in early December and created a huge gambling company.

Jens von Bahr is the Evolution chairman. He called the deal a landmark one.

“This strategic deal marks a significant step towards Evolution’s long-term vision of becoming the global market leader in the online casino industry.”

“The combination of Evolution’s strong offering in live casino with NetEnt’s leading position in online slots will result in a world-class portfolio of online games that will enable us to serve a growing customer base.”

“Lauding a ‘landmark’ deal in accelerating Evolution’s long-term ambition of ‘becoming the world leader in the online gaming industry’, the combined product portfolio will include live casino and online slots games, and generate revenue upsides through cross-selling and improved distribution via both companies’ customer bases, with closer customer partnerships and additional geographical spread of the companies’ products said to be achievable as result.”

Evolution Accused Of Flaunting Redundancy Rules

von Bahr may be delighted to be running the new, bigger Evolution but not so much the way the company handled redundancies.

Both NetEnt and Evolution refused to provide a statement with the reasons for the redundancies. At least 300, and as many as 500, lost their jobs following the takeover. None of those employees has received the necessary information required under Maltese law. This info includes:

  • The reason for the redundancies
  • The number of employees losing their jobs
  • Total number of people employed by the company
  • The criteria used during the selection process
  • Details of any payments.

GMU said neither company is making any effort to avoid the redundancies. Evolution bosses ordered staff at the NetEnt live dealer studio in the Qormi area of Malta to go home and await an email from their employer. The timing is strange not least because NetEnt announced plans to expand the same studio only three months ago.

Lack of Class Shown

Some of the affected former employees spoke out about their experiences. Evolution showed a complete lack of class if the reports are true.

One anonymous employee claims Evolution employees drank champagne and ate pizza while the laid-off NetEnt employees gathered belongings from desks.

As Evolution began celebrating in our faces and eating pizza, I had to go home and face my children, call the bank, and plan what I was to do next,” one employee said.

Another revealed how NetEnt was still investing in the studio and it’s staff one day prior to the announcement.

“there were trainees who had just finished their two weeks of traineeship when it was announced that we will not be working anymore.”

Company Denies All Claims Against It

Times of Malta contacted Evolution and asked about the claims made against the company. NetEnt and Evolution representatives spent the day and evening answering concerns of employees, according to a spokesperson. Those claims are strange because no NetEnt representatives were present during the meetings.

The newspaper also asked for an exact number of affected employees but Evolution brushed them off with a blanket answer.

“The formal process under Malta labour law, which guides the next steps, has been initiated.”

Evolution faces a hefty fine if the court finds truth in the former employees’ claims.. Current Maltese regulations call for a fine of at least €1,164.69 ($1,872.73) for every employee made redundant. That equates to €349,407 ($560,707) based on 300 redundancies.