PlayVS, Ex-Employee Ordered by LA Court to Attend Mediated Settlement Discussion
Los Angeles County Court hopes the two parties will resolve their dispute before proceeding with litigation.
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A Los Angeles County judge has ordered that scholastic esports software company PlayVS and a former employee who is suing the company for alleged gender discrimination and wrongful termination to attend a mandatory mediated settlement discussion, according to documents obtained by The Jacob Wolf Report.
The court has referred the case filed by Rachel Waynick, a former quality assurance analyst at the company, to Resolve Law Los Angeles, a set of experienced employment attorneys who volunteer their time to the initiative to help resolve employment disputes prior to them escalating to discovery and incurring further litigation costs.
Lawyers representing Waynick and PlayVS are required to schedule a three-hour Zoom call with the Resolve attorneys present to mediate. The court ordered that call to be completed by no later than Sept. 13, and it must provide an update to the Los Angeles Superior Court by that date as well. If the case does not settle prior to or during the conference, it will progress into further litigation.
Waynick sued PlayVS in March, alleging the company terminated her on Aug. 17, 2021, the day after she returned from doctor-ordered early pregnancy leave. On the day of her termination, Waynick was still pregnant. Her lawsuit alleges that PlayVS violated five counts of California labor law, including discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination.
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Over the past few months, the startup once valued at $400 million has come under fire.
In April, six former employees and one other source told The Jacob Wolf Report that PlayVS knowingly reported fraudulent player data to Epic Games, with whom it held a licensing partnership for scholastic “Fortnite” esports.
The Washington Post has also reported that the company threatened state non-profit associations who organized scholastic esports events with cease-and-desist emails. PlayVS and its founder Delane Parnell denied both of those allegations, but a non-profit director posted a screenshot to Twitter of one of those emails, sent by Parnell personally.
The company also effectively lost its exclusive license to run high school “League of Legends” tournaments amid Riot Games moving to a non-exclusive model and in June, the California Interscholastic Federation—which governs high school sports in the state—signed a three-year deal with non-profit NASEF. Now other tournament organizers, including non-profits, can run tournaments for “League” and PlayVS’ time in California schools is effectively over.
L.A. Superior Court launched the Resolve Law Los Angeles program in July 2021 in collaboration with several legal associations’ Southern California chapters. Originally to resolve and reduce personal injury caseloads, the program has expanded to include employment disputes, in hope of saving parties additional costs and giving the court time to address other matters.